Whole School Plan for Assessment
§Introductory Statement and Rationale
§Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School
§Content of Policy
a)Purposes of Assessment
b)Assessment for Learning
g)Recording the Results
§Roles and Responsibility
§Timetable for Review
§Ratification and Communication
This policy was drafted/reviewed by the staff of Eglish National School on our school development planning day on 13Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum – Guidelines for Schools and Circular 0138/2006.
Eglish National School wishes to establish a uniform approach to assessment and record keeping throughout the school so as to enhance teaching and learning.
Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School:
Eglish National School seeks to enable each child to develop his/her potential in a caring environment where the talents of each child are valued. We believe that our assessment and record keeping policy enhances our work. Assessment activities used in this school contribute to pupil learning and development by gathering relevant information to guide each pupil’s further learning (assessment for learning)and by providinginformation on each pupils achievement at a particular point in time (assessment of learning).
This links with our aim/mission “to ……………..
§To benefit pupil learning
§To monitor learning processes
§To generate baseline data that can be used to monitor achievement over time
§To involve parents and pupils in identifying and managing learning strengths andneeds
§To assist teachers’ long and short term planning
§To coordinate assessment procedures on a whole school basis
Content of Policy:
Purposes of Assessment:
§To inform planning and coverage of all areas of the curriculum
§To identify the particular learning needs of pupils/groups of pupils including the more able
§To monitor pupil progress and attainment
§To enable teachers to modify their programmes in order to ensure that the particular learning needs of individual pupils/groups are being addressed
§To compile records of individual pupils’ progress and attainment
§To facilitate communication between parents, teachers, special needs assistants and other professionals about pupils’ development, progress and learning need
§To enable teachers to monitor their own approaches and methodologies taking into accounts pupils’ different learning styles
a)Assessment for Learning:
In our school we use a range of assessment methods to help improve teaching and learning. Children’s participation in activities, their questions, predictions, explanations, drawings and writings all provide important information about their progress and about their immediate and long term learning needs.
Assessment is based on the objectives outlined for each subject area of the Curriculum, and encompasses the knowledge the child acquires, the skills the child learns, the attitudes and values the child develops and the dispositions the child shows.
As certain methods are more suited to particular subject areas, teachers use the most appropriate methods from the following list.
§Teacher observation involves assessing the child’s progress by observing, questioning and monitoring the child’s progress in all areas of the curriculum. Teachers may note significant aspects of some children’s progress or gaps in their knowledge and /or skills. Some of the details of children’s progress may emerge in an incidental way. At other times teachers may decide to look out for particular behaviours, abilities or learning. From time to time a checklist of areas to be focussed on may be used to structure observation and to record progress.
Included in teacher observation are:
ØResponses children make to teachers
ØThe participation and interaction of pupils in whole-class or group based activity
ØThe reaction of children to content and teaching strategies
Checklists are used to record progress in English and Maths. These include Star Ways, Maths Matters and Mathemagic Mastery records.
§Teacher designed tasks and tests: Teachers use a range of activities to assess the progress of individuals or groups across the full range of curriculum subjects. These may be oral, pictorial, written or practical and may be embedded in the everyday teaching and learning activities in the class or may be used by the teacher in key areas at the end of topics/activities to provide a rounded picture of the child’s performance and progress. Mastery records are used in Mathematics to track progress of individual children and specific learning objectives.
§Criterion-referenced tests: Prim-Ed Maths Assessments, Maths Matters,Mental Maths and Mathemagic end of unit tests are used to measure specific areas of learning and readiness to move on to a different topic. Test data may be entered on a mastery record or converted to a percentage correct of a given instructional objective.
§Work samples, portfolios and projects: Examples of children’s work are retained to enable balanced monitoring of the child’s progress in knowledge and skills. These include copybooks, folders of work, portfolios.
§Self Assessment: Self-assessment is the means by which pupils take responsibility for their own learning. Children are encouraged to look at their own work in a reflective way and to set personal learning targets for themselves.
1.Success and Improvement Strategy (also referred to as ‘two stars and a wish’).This involves children reflecting on their work and identifying two ‘best bits’/parts they like and one area where their work can be improved. Children can highlight the ‘best bits’ or put a star or smiley face beside it. Children also highlight one area where they could improve/do differently the next time. If possible, the children should have time to make the improvement. This process is particularly useful for children’s writing. Teacher modelling by using exemplars to model this process is essential for its success.
2.Sharing the learning intention/objective and devising success criteria - i.e. Telling children what they are going to learn… and agreeing the criteria for judging to what extent the outcomes have been achieved (Guidelines pp9, 70 and 77)- We are learning to……………….. We will know when we’ve achieved this because………….Display the learning objective(s) and the success criteria on a chart/whiteboard/post its etc).
3.Effective teacher questioning – teachers use higher order questioning and engage various strategies for turning recall questions into effective ‘formative’ questions that provoke fruitful discussion. (Guidelines for schools pp.86 – 88. Other issues relating to questioning are outlined on pages 42 – 44).
4. Individual oral feedback – to include enabling children identify the next steps in their learning.
5. Quality marking by teacher – occasional pieces of work marked thoroughly focusing on pointing out success and improvement rather than to mark every error in existence. On occasion ‘test’ marking will be undertaken whereby all aspects of the work will be marked e.g. a story where comments are made re. spelling, grammar, punctuation, handwriting and the overall quality of the work.
6. Quality marking by children. Children gradually trained to identify their own successes and improvement needs, with control gradually handed over from the teacher to the child.
In May/June each year Sigma T and Micra T assessment tests are administered to children in 1th class. Generally speaking all children are given the opportunity to sit these tests. However, in line with circular 0138/2006 pupils may be excluded from the test if in the view of the principal they have a learning or physical disability which would prevent them taking the test or where linguistic or other difficulties are such that attempting the test would be deemed to be in appropriate. Such pupils will be withdrawn from the classroom to the Learning Support setting for the duration of the test.
Mrs. Mulry is responsible for the purchase and distribution of test papers. Each class teacher administers the test under conditions specified in the test’s manual. Testing may also be carried out by the Learning Support teacher. Class teachers or Learning Support teachers mark and score the tests as set out in the manual and use the template provided to record pupil results in class groups in order of attainment. Individual test results are also recorded in the pupil file and are available for inclusion in the Pupil Report Card.
Results of standardised tests are analysed and interpreted at individual and class level by the class / learning support teacher. Miss Gavin is responsible for analysis of results at school level, for tracking progress of individual children across classes and for interpreting whole school results in relation to national norms.
Assessment data informs planning for teaching and learning at class level through the provision of differentiated learning experiences for the exceptionally able and for pupils with learning difficulties. At whole school level standardised data is used to prioritise pupils for learning support and for reporting to parents, other teachers, other schools, Des inspectors, NEPS, SENO, EWO and other professionals involved in the child’s education, as appropriate.
Standardised test results are explained orally to parents at parent teacher meeting in November in the context of the child’s in-class participation and performance generally. Results are also included in the pupil’s end of year report.
Screening measures used to facilitate the early identification of learning strengths/difficulties include; checklists, curriculum profiles and teacher records. Weekly spelling and Tables tests and other teacher designed assessment tasks are also used to identify difficulties at an early stage.
In Junior Infants formal screening procedures include The B.I.A.P, which is administered during the last term, while the M.I.S.T which is administered in second term in Senior Infants. The Letts Numeracy test is also administered in Senior Infants. The Neale Analysis Reading Assessment is used from 1th class.
The Prim-Ed assessments are used on an ongoing basis from 1th class.
The class teacher assisted by Learning Support teacher administers these tests and interprets the results.
Standardised tests are used for screening purposes 1th class.
In line with Stage 1 circular 02/05 the class teacher with the assistance of the Learning Support teacher devises a plan which aims to meet the identified needs of the pupils in his/her care. This plan is reviewed regularly with parents and if there are still some concerns after approximately two school terms, the LS teacher is consulted about the desirability of a move to Stage 2.
The judgement of the class teacher is an important factor in the selection of pupils for diagnostic assessment (Stage 2 Circular 02/05). Parents are consulted and written permission is acquired before any diagnostic testing takes place.
The Learning Support teacher administers diagnostic tests, interprets the results and communicates them to parents. The Learning Support teacher records the results of diagnostic assessment on an Individual Profile and Learning Programme and these then form the basis of the child’s learning programme.
In the allocation of Learning Support the priorities are as follows:
a.Children scoring at or below 10th P.R in literacy (Micra T )
b.Literacy in Senior Infants - Specific children identified by class teacher/s targeted for support
c.Children scoring at or below 10th P.R. in Maths (Sigma T )
d.Numeracy in Senior Infants – Specific children identified by class teacher targeted for support
e.Children scoring between 12th P.R. in literacy
f.Children scoring between 12th P.R in numeracy
Diagnostic tests used include: Aston Index and Quest.
If significant concerns remain after a period of at least two school terms it may be necessary to implement Stage 3 (Circular 02/05).
§The Class Teacher in consultation with SEN teacher advises the Principal that referral to outside agencies is required, e.g. educational psychologist, speech therapist etc
§Mrs Mulry coordinates the referral. Standard letters and consent forms are used.
§The Principal and/or Learning Support Teacher and/or Class Teacher meet with the parents to discuss the need for the referral and to seek consent
§The Class Teacher completes the necessary referral form in consultation with the SEN Teacher
§Where possible, the external professional visits the school to meet with the pupil, parents, principal, Class Teacher and the SEN Teacher as appropriate, and the assessment is conducted. Otherwise the parent accompanies the child to the relevant agency.
§Where possible, the assessment is followed by a follow-up consultation with psychologist to discuss recommendations and the school’s response
§Mrs Mulry continues to liaise with the out-of-school agency involved, and pursues any concerns the class teacher or supplementary teacher may have regarding follow through.
§The Learning Support/Resource teacher records the results of psychological or other such assessments on an Individual Profile and Learning Programme and these inform the child’s learning programme.
§Psychological and other such reports are stored in a locked filing cabinet in the office. The Principal and the school secretary control access to them.
§When the child transfers to second level or to another primary school the reports are returned to the parents or with parents written consent, forwarded to the secondary school. Parents are required to sign a receipt to confirm that the reports have been returned to them.
f)Recording of Assessment Results
In fulfilling the requirements of the Education Act (1998) the school maintains individual records of children’s learning. The purpose of assessment determines what and how assessment data are recorded. In this context, information may be recorded in marks, grades, checklists, profiles and narrative comments.
In standardised tests of numeracy and literacy results are recorded by class level using templates provided in test manuals.
Mastery records are used to record results of criterion referenced tests in Mathematics and English.
In recording narrative information teachers are aware of the need to use agreed terminology and to record comments in an objective and instructive manner in order to support further learning and development.
Children may also record assessment information about their own progress in learning through projects and portfolios.
Generally speaking sensitive information is not recorded but is passed on at meetings between relevant parties. Where sensitive data is recorded the school uses the child’s clár uimhir to protect the privacy of the individual. Such records are stored in a locked cabinet in the principal’s office.
Three kinds of records are maintained by the school:
§The teacher’s observation records
§The Class/Pupil Files (written or electronic)
§The Report Card
Record Keeping and Communication
The Data Protection (Amendment) Act (2003) entitles the parents of students under eighteen (and students themselves when aged eighteen and older) to access all personal data stored by the school.
In this context, appropriate assessment information is transferred to pupils though teacher/pupil conferencing. Teacher to teacher information is shared through regular meetings throughout the year.
Assessment information is shared with parents twice during each school year, at parent teacher meeting each November and in pupil school report at the end of each year. Results are expressed as Sten scores with a descriptor attached, as outlined in NCCA Guidelines for Schools p 63.
The school communicates assessment information to other schools where appropriate. Generally speaking, parents advise the school when their child is transferring to another school and the school organises for the ‘transfer report’ to be prepared and forwarded. From time to time, the receiving school requests the information. In this instance, parents are contacted before assessment information is shared.
Assessment information is stored in a locked filing cabinet by ‘class of ……………….; to be retained until ………………………’ Access to information on former pupils is facilitated by request in writing to the principal at any stage until their twenty-first birthday. Information stored on computers is password protected. Back-ups of information are clearly labelled and stored in locked filing cabinet with other relevant files.
We will know that our assessment policy is effective when
§assessment has an observed impact on pupil learning
§a range of informal and formal modes of assessment are in use throughout the school as an integral part of teaching and learning
§there is clarity about roles and responsibilities and assessment procedures run smoothly and efficiently
§there is effective communication between all the parties involved in the child’s education
Roles and Responsibility:
Mrs Mulry has particular responsibility for coordinating the development and implementation of this policy.
The policy is fully operational as and from 1
Timetable for Review
The policy will be reviewed and if necessary amended annually in June.