CURRICULUM > LEARNING JOURNEY
Throughout their time here at St Mary Abbots, your child’s learning progress is monitored extremely closely. The aim of this is to ensure that they are progressing as they should and enable us to address any gaps that appear as and when they arise. Every child learns in a slightly different way and at a different pace. It is vital that we recognise this, record this and do all we can to make sure that by the end of each year and Keys Stage, that all children have made the progress expected of them and as stipulated in the National Curriculum.
In Reception all children are initially assessed against what is known as The Early Years and Foundation Stage Baseline assessment within six weeks of starting school. This informs the class teacher what the children can and cannot yet do and allows them to plan for the start of the year. For the remainder of the year children are monitored continually to ascertain whether or not they are meeting the aims of the Early Learning Goals. Children are not aware of this monitoring: this style of assessment is done in such a way that children don’t realise that it is happening; as such it allows the teacher to really see what the children can do when they are engaged in their lessons and learning rather than in formal sit down tests.
As children move into Key Stage one, whilst the continual assessment continues through book marking, and in-class observations, there are slightly more formal assessments in maths, reading and writing that take place in the autumn, spring and summer terms. These give the teacher a clear idea of where children are in their learning and enable the teacher to plan future units of work and cover any gaps in children’s learning. These assessments are also invaluable tools that enable the teacher to provide differentiated work. This differentiation is essential if children are to access work at an appropriate level. On leaving Year 1 the class teacher will sit down with the Year 2 teacher to discuss each child in the class: the assessments carried out in the year will form a vital part of this discussion and enable the ‘incoming’ teacher to build up a very clear and accurate picture of every child’s learning journey and where their strengths and areas for development lie
The pattern of autumn, spring and summer ‘formal’ assessments, coupled with continual assessment through marking and in class observations continues for the rest of the child’s journey across the school, as do the end of year inter-class ‘hand over’ meetings.
An essential ingredient in this whole process is feedback. Feedback is essential as it empowers children with knowledge of what they need to do to progress. This feedback is done through written feedback in books and verbally, one on one with the child. These verbal sessions give teachers the opportunity to reassure children that we have a culture of what is known as ‘growth mind-set’ in the school which means children are encouraged to say ‘ I can’t do it yet’ rather than ‘ I can’t do it’ when they get things wrong.
By the time children reach Year 5, the tri-yearly assessments have taken on a more formal nature so that children start to become comfortable with the style of assessments that they have to complete at the end of Year 6 and beyond. In Year 6 itself the summer assessments are the SATS which comprise of reading, writing, grammar and maths papers which are all marked externally.
The following links contain a whole host of information on the role and nature of assessment in Primary Schools: