Early Years Foundation Stage; Reception Baseline Assessment
This is an age-appropriate assessment of early mathematics and literacy, communication and language. It is carried out by the class teacher within the first six weeks of a pupil starting Reception. The assessment has two components, each consisting of practical tasks using physical resources. There is an online scoring system for the teacher to use as the pupil engages with the tasks. The Reception Baseline Assessment will be used by the government to create school-level progress measures for primary schools, which will show the progress pupils make from Reception until the end of Key Stage 2 Year 6). We will be moderating our judgements with colleagues in other local schools in 2021-22.
As well as the Reception Baseline Assessment, the class teacher will carry out her own Baseline assessment of each pupil, using practical activities and observation to understand each child’s needs as they start school.
Year 1 Phonics Screening Check
COVID-19 closures disrupted these assessments in 2020 and 2021, which are typically completed in the month of June when pupils are in Year 1. We tend to complete a practice check before Easter in Year 1 and share that result with each child’s parents/carers, highlighting any sounds they need to practice at home.
The Phonics Screening Check contains 40 words divided into two sections of 20 words. Both sections contain a mixture of real words and pseudo-words. Each child completes the check individually with their teacher.
Year 2 SATs (Standardised Assessment Tests)
COVID-19 closures disrupted these assessments in 2020 and 2021, which are typically completed in the month of May when pupils are in Year 2. We aim to administer the tests in the classroom in a low-stress, low-key way; some children are not even aware that they have completed the tests!
Although the tests are set externally, they are marked by teachers within the school. Children are given a scaled score. Their raw score – the actual number of marks they get – is translated into a scaled score, where a score of 100 means the child is working at the expected standard. A score below 100 indicates that the child needs more support, whereas a score of above 100 suggests the child is working at a higher level than expected for their age. The maximum score possible is 115, and the minimum is 85.
Teacher assessments are also used to build up a picture of your child’s learning and achievements. In addition, your child will receive an overall result saying whether they have achieved the required standard in the tests: we will say whether your child is Working Towards the expected standard, meeting the Expected Standard or Working at Greater Depth.
When the class teacher judges that a child may be ready to move to the next Reading Level colour, we will use the reading benchmark assessment; a set book will be used and the adult will record how the child reads this text aloud; errors and self-corrections are marked and then the success at decoding is scored. Key questions are used to see how far the child has understood the text and whether the child can use inference to think around the text to answer more open-ended questions. The scoring system guides us as to whether the child is ready for the next level or not and this is communicated home. If the child does indeed move on, guidance is given as to what to look for in this new level.
Formative assessment refers to a wide variety of methods that teachers use (e.g questioning, observing how well they approach/complete a task, marking completed learning) to assess how well a child has understood a concept or can perform a skill; it is sometimes referred to as ‘assessment for learning’ because it helps us plan the next learning steps for the child.
In each year group, we capture summative assessment of learning at Baseline, when the child starts in the year group, Check Point 2 at Christmas, Check Point 4 at Easter and Check Point 6 in July; this tells us what the child has learned at each milestone. We use a Management Information System to capture, track and analyse our data. Teachers benchmark their decisions with year group partners within school before finalising their judgements. For 2021-22, we have agreed moderation meetings for teachers to compare assessments across our Trust.
After every checkpoint, we hold Pupil Progress Meetings. This is to highlight those pupils who are making accelerated progress, as well as those who are making slower progress, who need additional support. We outline what interventions we need to continue or put in place, setting short-term targets for the group to achieve, which we then track.
Parents’ Consultation Evenings
These are held over two evenings in the Autumn and Spring Terms. The aim is to meet with the parents/carers of each child in the school, so that we can talk about how they behave for learning, what progress they are making and what their ‘next steps’ are. In the summer term, the end-of-year report summarises this information, along with our assessment judgements using the end-of-year expectations.