At GWA, our assessment system aims to further enhance the quality of teaching and learning so that our pupils make outstanding progress and have a strong foundation for achieving success at GCSE, A Level and beyond.The assessment system at GWA
- is aspirational and challenging while giving pupils a sense of achievement
- provides a precise and robust measure of pupil progress and attainment
- makes clear to pupils the knowledge, understanding and skills that they have mastered and the next steps they need to take in their learning
- gives reliable information to parents about how their child is performing is fully coherent with the reformed GCSEs.
Baseline ('on entry') Assessment
In order to be clear that students are making progress we need clear benchmarks against which to measure. Key Stage 2 outcomes are very important, and are our main reference point. However, we are conscious that these do not tell the whole story – or that this data may be missing for some students – so we also ensure students sit Cognitive Abilities Tests (CAT) and Reading Age (STAR) tests as soon as possible after arrival to GWA. We aspire to be well inside the top 20% of schools nationally for progress from Key Stage 2 and will set internal targets accordingly.
For reading ages the Academy Literacy Lead will use Accelerated Reader STAR tests and advice from the National Literacy Trust to set realistic targets for students. In general these will be to make more than a year’s progress in literacy across a chronological year; for some students it may be appropriate to set a target or significantly more than a year’s progress.
Regular, formative assessment is an expectation of all teachers in all subjects. Students are entitled to constructive feedback on all assessed pieces of work and are expected to demonstrate they have responded to the feedback provided. Teachers assess learning against the knowledge and skills statements provided in schemes of work and keep records of the quality of work from each student.
More formal assessment tests take place in each core subject at least three times per year with one of these being a formal exam in the summer term. Even these assessments are seen as formative, with teachers using them to identify areas of the curriculum which need further work, and students expected to respond to areas of the assessment where their learning needs consolidation or improvement.
Tracking student progress
Teachers track the progress of their students through the regular, formative assessments described above, keep records of this, and discuss the progress with their subject and year group leaders as and when required.
Results are compared with expected progress from Key Stage 2 point and with the students’ previous grades. This analysis, together with the attitudes to learning grades provided by the annual PASS (Pupil Attitude to School and Self) survey, is be used to identify students who need particular congratulation for their progress and those who may need some form of intervention in order to accelerate their progress.
Our SENDCo pays particular attention to the progress of students on the SEN register and reviews the provision for them accordingly.
Intervention to improve learning may need to take place at subject level or as more holistic support for a particular issue such as confidence, social skills, exam technique, behaviour, or homework.
At each reporting sessions students have personal conversations with their tutor, leading to them updating their Individual Learning Plans targets.
Assessment, recording and reporting to parents
Engaging with parents and helping them to play a key role in student success will always have a high priority at GWA. Contact is not be limited to the ‘formal’ opportunities described in this section. In addition parents will be able to access the homework set for their sons and daughters via My Child at School (MCAS) at any time, and will be encouraged to contact teachers where any concerns arise. Similarly, teachers and support staff will contact parents where praise is due, or when concerns arise.
Parents receive three annual reports and at least one formal consultation evening (two in Years 7, 10 and 12; one with the tutor and one with subject teachers) at which they will meet teachers of their children.
Reports contain ‘Attitudes to Learning’ scores for all year groups – three separate grades covering behaviour for learning, quality of classwork, and quality of homework. A mean score is calculated for each student across their subjects and included in the report together with the year group mean for comparison purposes. In addition, we intend to report progress against the enterprise skills of presenting, listening, problem solving, creativity, leadership and teamwork.
In Years 7 and 8, reports will indicate whether students are ‘Making expected progress’, ‘Making more than expected progress’ or ‘making less than expected progress’.
Reports also contain information about attendance and rewards, with year group information included as benchmarks for parents.
The final report of the year includes test scores achieved together with class or year group mean scores (as appropriate).
Student Individual Learning Plans are updated in the light of the most recent report. All reports and ILPs are be made available to parents electronically with the opportunity for parents to respond.
To view the Department for Education's School Performance website click here