Each school must be able to develop a curriculum that responds to the changing needs of specific cohorts. There are, however, numerous opportunities for joint planning across the MAT schools. This increases creativity and reduces workload. Vulnerable groups of students can be brought together from all MAT schools to work together and learn from each other.
Teachers from all our schools (primary and secondary) come together to ensure we are all marking and assessing in the same way to the same standard. This not only ensures that pupils from different schools are marked fairly and assessed accurately; it also ensures that there is a smooth transition to the secondary school system.
All schools have a common assessment system that allows direct data comparison between each school. In Primary OPT is used and in secondary, the assessment platform is Go4Schools.
Effective assessment is integral to high quality teaching and learning and has, at its core, the goal of improving outcomes for children. Regular feedback, in all formats, given to children about their learning helps them to understand how to be successful, what they have achieved and what they need to do to further improve. We recognise that assessment goes hand-in-hand with an engaging and challenging curriculum; but it is high quality formative assessment that goes to the very heart of good teaching.
Evidence from recent research carried out by the Education Endowment Foundation in 2016 suggests that, ‘The use of targets to make marking as specific and actionable as possible is likely to increase pupil progress.’ It also notes that, ‘Pupils are unlikely to benefit from marking unless some time is set aside to enable pupils to consider and respond to marking.’
The studies of feedback reviewed in the Teaching and Learning Toolkit – an evidence synthesis produced by the EEF, Sutton Trust and Durham University – found that on average the provision of high-quality feedback led to an improvement of eight additional months’ progress over the course of a year. While it is important to note that written marking is only one form of feedback, marking offers an opportunity to provide pupils with the clear and specific information that the wider evidence base on feedback suggests is most likely to lead to pupil progress.
Detailed analysis of assessment information also plays a crucial role in school self-evaluation by identifying areas of strength and weakness at an individual, group, class, key stage, year group and whole school level. This information then guides strategic planning at all of these levels. This analysis is also essential in enabling school Governors and Directors to have a clear understanding of the performance of each school within the MAT.
As a MAT we use OPT (Oxfordshire pupil tracking) in our Primary Schools and Go4Schools in the Secondary school to monitor data in each school and analysis of this data allow us to assess the strengths and areas for development across the MAT. Moderation meetings and activities, led by our lead schools, take place throughout the year to ensure consistency and agreement within the MAT and share good practice in assessment.
The aims of assessment within the MAT are:
to enable our children to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do in their learning
to develop children’s ability to self-assess and to understand what they need to do next to improve
to help our children recognise the standards to aim for
to allow teachers to plan work and activities that accurately reflects the learning needs of each child
to help parents to support their child’s learning at home
to provide information which allows Senior Leaders, Governors and Trustees to evaluate and question the effectiveness of the school.
Purpose of Assessment
Our use of Assessment
The Assessment Cycle
Ongoing Formative Assessment
We believe that thorough assessment procedures are essential for informing the next stages of planning and helping children to know what they have to do to make progress. We endeavour to achieve this by:-
Effective marking and feedback is directly related to the learning outcomes given to students at the beginning of teaching sessions or sequences of learning. It is therefore part of the assessment process which informs teachers’ short term planning and feeds directly into whole school monitoring and target-setting. Marking and feedback should be clear and constructive in its guidance to individual students, being consistently applied. It should point to strengths as well as areas for development in order to build students’ confidence. Marking and feedback should require a response from students, allowing for them to act upon guidance and targets set as a way of measuring and celebrating progress. It should also enable students to develop skills of self and peer assessment by making clear the criteria against which they are to be assessed.
Senior Leaders and Head teachers are expected to set targets for each cohort at the start of the school year and then use the data generated throughout the year to analyse the progress of pupils and groups on a termly basis. This information is utilised to inform the:-
The MAT recognises that moderation is an essential element in producing teacher and school assessment that is reliable and comparable over time, and for that reason moderation meetings take place throughout the year to support this process. There are planned opportunities for all school staff to come together within their hubs to moderate work across all age groups ensuring that expectation is consistent alongside additional meetings for Year 2 and 6 staff/ English and Maths Leaders to ensure that children are being supported appropriately as they approach their SATs tests and sufficient curriculum coverage is taking place.