Assessment Policy

INTRODUCTION


This policy sets out the guidelines for assessment, recording and reporting at Nightingale Academy. The policy should be read in conjunction with the learning and teaching guidelines, since these are underpinned by the principles of Assessment for Learning. The policy will ensure that we achieve our mission that every learner is ‘enabled to make their best better’.

The policy outlines:

  • The principles of Assessment for Learning
  • How Nightingale Academy will use formative and summative assessment to inform learning and teaching activities
  • The marking policy of the Academy

This policy should be read in conjunction with the process of tracking learner progress and procedures for assessment, recording and reporting


THE TEN PRINCIPLES FOR ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING

The Assessment Reform Group (2002) described 10 Principles which should govern Assessment for Learning in Schools:

1.    Assessment for learning should be part of effective planning of teaching and learning

A teacher's planning should provide opportunities for both learner and teacher to obtain and use information about progress towards learning goals. It also has to be flexible to respond to initial and emerging ideas and skills. Planning should include strategies to ensure that learners understand the goals they are pursuing and the criteria that will be applied in assessing their work. How learners will receive feedback, how they will take part in assessing their learning and how they will be helped to make further progress should also be planned

2.    Assessment for learning should focus on how students learn

The process of learning has to be in the minds of both learner and teacher when assessment is planned and when the evidence is interpreted. Learners should become as aware of the 'how' of their learning as they are of the 'what'.

3.     Assessment for learning should be recognised as central to classroom practice

Much of what teachers and learners do in classrooms can be described as assessment. That is, tasks and questions prompt learners to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills. What learners say and do is then observed and interpreted, and judgements are made about how learning can be improved. These assessment processes are an essential part of everyday classroom practice and involve both teachers and learners in reflection, dialogue and decision making.

4.     Assessment for learning should be regarded as a key professional skill for teachers

Teachers require the professional knowledge and skills to: plan for assessment; observe learning; analyse and interpret evidence of learning; give feedback to learners and support learners in self-assessment. Teachers should be supported in developing these skills through initial and continuing professional development.

5.     Assessment for learning should be sensitive and constructive because any assessment has an emotional impact

Teachers should be aware of the impact that comments, marks and grades can have on learners' confidence and enthusiasm and should be as constructive as possible in the feedback that they give. Comments that focus on the work rather than the person are more constructive for both learning and motivation.

6.     Assessment for learning should take account of the importance of learner motivation

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 learners. It can also lead to their withdrawing from the learning process in areas where they have been made to feel they are 'no good'. Motivation can be preserved and enhanced by assessment methods which protect the learner's autonomy, provide some choice and constructive feedback, and create opportunity for self-direction.

7.     Assessment for learning should promote commitment to learning goals and a shared understanding of the criteria by which they are assessed

For effective learning to take place learners need to understand what it is they are trying to achieve - and want to achieve it. Understanding and commitment follows when learners have some part in deciding goals and identifying criteria for assessing progress. Communicating assessment criteria involves discussing them with learners using terms that they can understand, providing examples of how the criteria can be met in practice and engaging learners in peer and self-assessment.

8.     Learners should receive constructive guidance about how to improve
Learners need information and guidance in order to plan the next steps in their learning. Teachers should:

  • pinpoint the learner's strengths and advise on how to develop them
  • be clear and constructive about any weaknesses and how they might be addressed
  • provide opportunities for learners to improve upon their work.

 9.     Assessment for learning develops learners' capacity for self-assessment so that they can become reflective and self-managing

Independent learners have the ability to seek out and gain new skills, new knowledge and new understandings. They are able to engage in self-reflection and to identify the next steps in their learning. Teachers should equip learners with the desire and the capacity to take charge of their learning through developing the skills of self-assessment.

10.     Assessment for learning should recognise the full range of achievements of all learners
Assessment for learning should be used to enhance all learners' opportunities to learn in all areas of educational activity. It should enable all learners to achieve their best and to have their efforts recognised.

These 10 principles will underpin the learning and teaching pedagogy at the Academy, and staff will receive appropriate training and support to ensure that they understand the principles and are able to put them into practice in their classrooms.


FORMATIVE AND SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT AT NIGHTINGALE ACADEMY

In order to ensure that all learners are enabled to make their best better, we need to use the principles of formative and summative assessment so that we can map their progress over time, have conversations with them about their learning and enable them to set SMART targets that ensure they are able to become successful learners. The role of the learning guide, who will be the key adult working with the learner in the Academy is of paramount importance to the Academy. The job description for the Learning Guide can be found in Appendix 1 of this policy. Both teaching staff and learning guides will combine formative and summative assessment in their practice to ensure that students can maximise their progress. Formative assessment is integral to the learning and teaching process; summative assessment measures what has been learned. Practice for both summative and formative assessment includes:

Summative Assessment (measuring attainment)

Formative Assessment (enabling achievement)

  • Statutory and non-statutory tests
  • External exams
  • Commercially produced tests
  • Internally produced tests
  • Levelling work during and end of key stages
  • Grading work
  • Entrance exams for colleges/universities
  • Recall questions which establish current knowledge and understanding
  • Any assessment method which aims to establish whether learning has taken place or a target has been met
  • Any other data about student performance in the school
 
  • Clarifying learning objectives and success criteria at the planning stage as a framework for formative assessment processes
  • Sharing learning objectives and success criteria with students, both long term and for individual lessons
  • Appropriate and effective questioning which develops the learning rather than measures it
  • Focusing oral and written feedback (from teacher or student), around the development of learning objectives and meeting of targets
  • Organising targets so that students’ achievement is based on previous achievement as well as aiming for the next step
  • Involving students in self and peer evaluation
  • Raising students’ self efficacy and holding a belief that all students have the potential to learn and to achieve
 

From Formative Assessment in the Secondary Classroom – Shirley Clarke (2005)


CPD AND ASSESSMENT

In order to ensure that we have consistency, continuity and high quality of assessment across the Academy we will:

  • Provide all staff will access to CPD focusing on Assessment. This includes Personalising by Design Training, Raise On Line Training and SIMS training. Such training will help to inform them in their role as a learning guide as well as classroom assessment practices
  • Provide all staff with access to the latest research and publications regarding Assessment
  • Create an environment where sharing practice takes place including working with learning partners, observing lessons etc.
  • Providing training for students in Assessment for Learning so that they understand how summative assessment of their progress can be used to enable them to reach the next level and ensure they become successful learners.
  • Provide additional training to the leadership group so that they are able to lead their teams in the latest developments in Assessment theory
  • Provide ongoing support on the use of the Academy ICT systems to ensure a smooth and efficient collection of data
  • Provide training and support for parents so that they understand the assessment of their children and can access the information they require about their child.