Attainment & Progress
Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning at High Well School. It provides a framework for identifying, monitoring and communicating pupils’ attainment and progress, identifying areas for further development and setting challenging targets.
1. High Well Levels
Since September 2014 schools have been free to create their own approaches to assessment. We have implemented a system called Learning Ladders which allows pupils to clearly see the next steps in their learning. Standard ladders will be used to measure against academic national expectations but we have also created bespoke ladders which fit our school more appropriately. By doing this our pupils will be able to follow a personalised pathway to ensure they achieve their potential and leave with the best qualifications possible.
From Year 9 pupils begin nationally accredited qualifications in all subjects. Our current suite of qualifications includes GCSE, BTEC, Functional Skills, Entry Level Certificate, Step Up , ASDAN CoPE, ASDAN Employability and Junior Sports Leader Award, all of which have unique grading systems. We therefore measure attainment using the appropriate qualification grades.
We also have developed bespoke ladders to record and track our pupils’ social and emotional progress and monitor the effectiveness of our ethos Preparing for Positive Futures.
Key Stage 2 assessment data is not always available for all students arriving in Year 7. Experience shows us that, for various reasons including a number of school placement changes at KS1&2, a high level of one-to-one support in primary school and below average attendance, most pupils arrive with us working below or significantly below national expectations. Whilst we acknowledge that the data of any pupils who have taken KS2 National Tests will be used in the Department of Education’s KS2-KS4 progress measure, it would be doing pupils a disservice to stick rigidly to unrealistic levels of attainment when setting our own progress targets, indeed the discrepancy would be compounded year on year as we set increasingly more unachievable targets.
We therefore carry out a benchmarking exercise during the first month of Year 7 (and upon arrival for any pupils who start at differing points in the year). All students take a range of accredited standardised English and maths assessments, a cognitive abilities test (CAT) an emotional literacy assessment and are assessed by staff using The Boxall Profile for Young People. The outcomes of these assessments are compared with any reported end of KS2 data and pupils are assigned a start point on their High Well Learning Ladder. If there is a significant difference between reported KS2 attainment and our assessments then a decision to benchmark a pupil accordingly is only taken after consultation between the senior leadership team, class teachers and the SENCO.
3. Target setting
Accurate assessment and analysis of year-on-year progress allows us to generate challenging targets, which show what we expect our students to attain. Comparing current attainment against targets allows us to measure the impact of teaching and learning and intervene when necessary to support learning.
4. Expected progress
a. Expected Progress in Years 7-9
We expect every student to progress from their benchmarked starting point at the beginning of Year 7 by a minimum of 100 points on the learning ladders assessment system.
b. Expected progress in Years 10 & 11
As explained above, KS4 targets are set in line with the grading system used for the qualification being followed e.g. GCSE subjects use grades or 1-9, Entry Level Certificate subjects use levels 1-3, BTEC use Pass, Merit, Distinction etc.
At the start of Year 10 a pupil's end of Year 9 Learning Ladder position is converted to start of KS4 equivalent grades.
Some subjects offer GCSE, Functional Skills and Entry Level courses. In assigning a pupil to the appropriate course consideration is taken of the growth capacity that pupil showed during Years 7-9.
5. Tracking progress
Class teachers and subject leaders are responsible for moderating and recording assessment data within their subject area. Regular curriculum meetings provide a forum for sharing, discussing and moderating assessments.
Attainment data is recorded, tracked and monitored across the whole school using the Learning Ladders software with data updated and analysed regularly. The targets of pupils who are consistently exceeding their targets will be reviewed at this point and intervention plans will be put in place for those who are not achieving expected progress. A full and final analysis of the progress of all pupils and the impact of any intervention is undertaken as part of the summer term analysis.
6. Tracking specific groups of pupils
The Learning Ladders assessment software allows us to compare the performance of specific groups of pupils. We currently analyse the performance of the following groups as part of our termly evaluation:
- Pupils in receipt of Pupil Premium
- Looked After Children (LAC)
It should however be noted that due to the relatively small size of some of these cohorts meaningful comparisons are not always possible and data must be interpreted with care.
7. Moderation & quality control
Moderation of assessments for each subject takes the following forms:
- Our High Well Learning Ladders system has explicit curriculum descriptors that all teachers are familiar with.
- Formative assessment tasks that address specific level descriptors are included in schemes of work.
- All units of work have a summative assessment task.
- Moderation of work is a feature of all curriculum meetings (at least one meeting every half-term).
- Senior Leaders carry out learning audits that involve lesson observation and work scrutiny.
Attainment and progress in meeting annual targets is reported to parents via:
- Termly Pupil Progress Days
- An Education Health and Care Plan Review Report