The ability to assess a child's learning is a key skill which all good and outstanding teachers have at their fingertips. Assessment is critical as it is the teacher's way of finding out what a child can or can't do so that the next learning experience that a teacher plans, takes account of this information and provides for that child's next steps in learning.
Assessment falls into two broad categories and has two main functions and the information below explains this in a little more detail.
Formative assessment, often called ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING, is what teachers do on a day to do basis and informally as they move around the classroom, asking children questions and marking work. If you like it is the "intelligence" that they gain so that future plans can be shaped by what they know children can do. At it's best, this information gathering will see a change in tack or a modification to the lesson so that children can either move on more quickly or are supported further in the lesson. This approach allows teachers to PERSONALISE LEARNING. This skilful form of assessing as you go along, is THE most effective way of moving children forward in their learning. Our teachers are skilled at carrying out this form of assessment which allows them to make more progress than is nationally expected.
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Summative assessment is the form of assessment that most parents remember as exams. It is usually an end of term or half term assessment which provides an overall grade or measure of progress. We use our own teacher assessment to provide each child with a summative assessment score at the end of each half term so that we can measure their progress over the course of the year and spot concerns as soon as possible.
The process of assessment can often be subjective. In other words, different teachers can come to different conclusions about whether a child has reached a particular progress milestone or not. To ensure that we have the same agreed views of attainment and progress, we meet together, with other schools and with the Local Authority to agree views and opinions on pieces of work that we bring with us. This enables our judgements to be robust and consistent.
What is attainment?
Attainment is the actual level or point at which a child is achieving at any one given time.
What is progress?
Progress is the distance covered in a child's learning from one specific time to another.
For example schools measure the progress of every child from the level that they got at the end of Year 2 to the level that they got at the end of Year 6.