We view assessment as the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by pupils and their teachers to decide where pupils are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get them there. Much of what teachers and pupils do in classrooms can be described as assessment. That is, the tasks and questions used to prompt pupils to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of a concept forms the basis of what is planned for next. If children are to progress, then learning needs to be tailored to their specific needs and this can only be achieved through considering what they already know and what the next suitable learning intention is.
Within the classroom our day to day assessment reviews, considers and judges the progress of both individuals and groups. Our teachers observe learning, analyse the work children produce, interpret the evidence collected, give feedback to pupils and support pupils in thinking about their own work.
Assessment that encourages learning fosters motivation by emphasising progress and achievement rather than failure. Comparison with others who have been more successful is unlikely to motivate pupils. It can also lead to their withdrawing from the learning process in areas where they have been made to feel no good. Motivation can be preserved and enhanced by assessment methods which protect pupil’s autonomy, provide some choice and constructive feedback and create opportunity for self direction.
Assessment at our school is designed to be:
Overall, our view is that for effective learning to take place pupils need to understand what it is they are trying to achieve and want to achieve it. Understanding and commitment follows when pupils have some part in deciding goals and identifying criteria for assessing progress. Communicating assessment criteria involves discussions with the pupils using terms that they can understand, providing examples of how the criteria can be met in practice and engaging pupils in peer and self assessment.