Assessment at Ninian Park Primary School
The teachers at Ninian Park Primary School work closely with their pupils to identify what they know, need to learn next and what strategies will best help them do this. We recognise that for the pupils in our school to make excellent progress, our staff have to make careful and ongoing assessments. We do this through the use of different types of assessment. There are Assessments Of Learning (i.e. traditional tests) and Assessments For Learning (i.e. strategies used to continually calculate pupils' understanding). Assessments are held by the school on the School Information Management System (SIMS) and on an electronic system called Incerts. (For more information on Incerts scroll down the page)
Assessment for Learning
'Assessment for Learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there'. (Assessment Reform Group, 2002)
Assessment for learning involves using assessment in the classroom to raise pupils’ achievement. It is based on the idea that pupils will improve most if they understand the aim of their learning, where they are in relation to this aim and how they can achieve the aim (or close the gap in their knowledge).
Assessment is closely linked to teachers’ curriculum planning, since it is only by continually assessing what children have learnt and understood, that we can know what “next steps” should be planned.
In mixed ability classes it is essential that teachers “differentiate” in the work given to different ability groups. Children’s progress can then be assessed against the “learning objectives” in the curriculum planning. Planning and assessment form an ongoing cycle.
Effective assessment for learning happens all the time in the classroom. It involves:
recognising that both motivation and self-esteem, crucial for effective learning and progress, can be increased by effective assessment techniques.
Research has shown that being part of the review process raises standards and empowers pupils to take action to improve their performance.
Assessment and Testing... are not the same thing!
Children’s learning is assessed in a variety of ways ....... By observing the children, by talking with them about their learning and designing assessment tasks/activities at the end of an area of learning in order to find out what children have learnt. From time to time children are given “tests” in the classroom, this not only helps show what they have learnt, it also helps them learn to work “against the clock”.
The emphasis is not on children competing with each other, which could be very disheartening for children of lower ability, rather the emphasis is “improving on your own previous best”. This motivates children to achieve at their own pace.
Assessment drives learning. Feedback to pupils about their learning leads to new learning. Assessment is an essential part of the ethos in every classroom and a continual two way process between adults and children. Planning and assessment are thus interdependent processes.
At Ninian Park we are committed to teaching children in focus groups when possible to ensure that 'learning conversations' take place. Such conversations focus on the planned learning for the lesson and enable teachers to assess learning, give instant and constructive feedback and to scaffold / develop the next step with the child - immediate improvements can be made. Pupil self-evaluation becomes an essential part of this dialogue.
Self-Assessment ... is known to make a valuable contribution to children’s learning, and children throughout the school are now used to being involved in self-assessment, using the planned learning steps as a criteria to assess their learning. Children are involved in setting and working towards targets and with adult support develop the skills needed to assess for themselves when those targets have been achieved. We believe that the more aware children are of the purpose of what they do, and the steps they need to take to achieve a target, the more responsibility they will begin to take for their own learning - a vital aspect of achieving success.
Incerts is a non-profit organisation that is transforming assessment in schools through innovative technology. Our analytical approach helps school leaders get more than they thought possible from assessment. Due to being recognised as a ‘non-profit’ organisation we are subject to regulation. We document our social impact and demonstrate that our work is beneficial to the education community we serve. Everything we do is designed to help achieve our two social goals:
- To improve learning and achievement in schools
- To reduce teachers’ non-teaching workload
Incerts is a unique hybrid of social mission, education strategy and technical expertise. This powerful combination has allowed us to create a tool that is fit-for-purpose, effective and affordable.
"Standardised tests alone are not effective in identifying next steps for pupils and driving up achievement. Teacher assessment is more detailed, extensive and often more informed. When teacher assessments are used formatively throughout the year, problems can be recognised, target groups can be identified, interventions can be put in place and attainment can be truly improved. At Incerts, everything we do is geared towards encouraging formative use of teacher assessment, for planning and improving pupil performance." (Incerts website)
Welsh National Tests (WNT)
Children from Year 2 to Year 6 take part in national tests. There are three different tests
From September 2020 all these tests will be completed online. The online tests can be completed twice during each academic year, however most children will complete one of each test during the summer term so that they can show what they have learnt throughout the year. The teacher will choose when the children complete the test and help them understand the process so that they feel prepared and willing to try this challenge. The tests are adaptive, meaning that if the child gets the question correct, the next one will be harder, but if they get it wrong, the next question will be easier. Therefore, it is very unlikely that any two children will complete the same test.