Exams provide a proxy of the learned knowledge; a sample of the subject’s domain. At The Harleston Sancroft Academy we focus on instilling students’ knowledge beyond the exam, by teaching a broad and balanced curriculum. Our curriculum design provides a clear framework of how departments teach to the whole domain.
The curriculum is the progression model. Students have made progress if they have learned the curriculum. We place more emphasis on teaching to the curriculum and not to the test. This means a clear focus on substantive, specific knowledge which we clearly identify in our Schemes of Learning and teach more directly. Our summative assessments sample from the whole domain, not just what has most recently been taught, allowing students to revisit previous knowledge and develop mastery in subjects.
Assessment, moderation and reporting facilitates:
- All students to realise their potential
- All students to be successful and to be challenged to exceed their potential
- An accessible progress dialogue for staff, students and parents that identifies and supports targeted intervention
- Students in understanding for each subject what they know, what they do not know and supporting them through feedback to fill the learning gap
- Parents in understanding the progress of their child and what their child needs to do to improve
- Effective self, peer and teacher feedback
- We provide opportunities and an environment for students to understand and use assessment, feedback and reporting to make the next steps on their pathway.
- Students take responsibility for knowing, understanding, and working towards their next steps.
- We support and involve parents to help their children in conversations about learning.
- The National Curriculum is based around the principle of learning things in greater depth, mastering key concepts and gaining deep learning. The new examination assessment procedures reflect this, ensuring we are assessing whether students have understood these key concepts and are capable of expressing their learning in an appropriate manner, unique to their key stage and starting point.
- Students receive feedback formatively and summatively; many assessments are marked according to GCSE grading scale of 1-9, where grade 1 is lowest, and grade 9 is exceptional performance.
Student progress is measured against their target (expected) grade 9 to 1 in all year groups, where grade 1 is the lowest and grade 9 is exceptional performance. Grades 4 and 5 are considered to be ‘Pass’ grades.
Pupil Profile with Target (Expected) Grade
Students will be profiled in each year group with target (expected) grades for the end of Y11. These are taken from FFT-Aspire 20, based on KS2 attainment and/or using CAT4 tests.
Grades (9-1) are awarded to students at each of the three Current Grade reporting points (CGs) in the school calendar. The grades awarded are based on a subject’s summative assessments. To support this further and to enable greater in-depth analysis, we will use a fine level grading system (+, -) e.g. 5+ or 5-, where eg 5+ is close to grade 6, and 5- is closer to Grade 4.
In between CG reporting points, we feedback to students:
- Summatively: using percentage scores and 1-9 GCSE Grades
By avoiding the grading (9 to 1) of individual pieces of work we aim to develop a growth mindset amongst students where all aspire to the highest level of attainment, engaging with our feedback on how to improve rather than focusing on grades awarded.
In time departments/subjects will be able to analyse their KS3 assessment scores in light of actual GCSE grades 9 to 1 being awarded by external bodies, fine-tuning their standardisation at KS3.
KS3 Summative Assessments:
This approach allows students to become familiar with the core knowledge, skills and literacy demands of each subject during Key Stage 3. Each assessment is designed with consistency; tasks stay the same but the content focuses more on breadth and depth as students’ progress through the curriculum. Assessments are cumulative to encourage long-term retention of the learned knowledge.
Each year group sits a summative assessment each term. Each assessment takes place in the classroom. The grade determines the Current Grade (CG). Insights from Summative Assessments enable subjects to:
- provide targeted interventions in the classroom
- identify misconceptions; modify teaching, curriculum plans according to gaps in knowledge
- empower students with a greater understanding of how to improve their own progress
KS4 assessments: Exam 1 and Exam 2
Years 10 and 11 sit two internal exams (Exam 1 and Exam 2). Each exam takes place in the main hall with external invigilators. Following these examinations, students then receive feedback from their teachers in order to identify, understand and act on their next steps in learning.
- To provide an accurate understanding of where students are falling behind in their learning and why
- To understand how successfully students are acquiring and retaining the knowledge and content of their learning
- Appropriate interventions are implemented via the classroom
- Teaching, curriculum plans and planning for literacy improvements are accurately informed
- Students are empowered in a greater understanding of how to improve their own progress
- Progress for all students is supported and understood
- To provide students with opportunities at KS4 to experience formal examination conditions where they must express their understanding and skills coherently
Formative Assessment and Current Grade (CG)
Formative assessment is used in all lessons where feedback is required, both verbal or written. It also creates opportunities for students to become confident in the processes of self and peer assessment. Teachers work with students to establish appropriate success criteria and methods to apply this to review practices so that students become independent learners.
Formative assessment is also used in conjunction with Exam 1 and Exam 2 where communication is provided to students, parents and carers, through CG points in the year.
We assist parents with understanding about student’s progress by:
- Providing detailed explanations in letters and at Parents’ Evenings
- Providing opportunities for parents to contact staff
- Providing details about how students can improve
Student performance and progress are reviewed at KS3 and KS4 by the SLT, the Director of Faculties, Curriculum Leaders, subject teachers, and Heads of House. These groups share information via meetings and/or through Current Grade analysis documents shared internally online. This ensures student progress is challenged and understood, allowing areas for best practice to be shared and for improvements in teaching and learning and pastoral support to be identified and monitored.
As a school we work with students to take pride in their work and ensure they understand how teachers’ feedback can be best utilised. We carry out faculty and subject reviews whereby the SLT in combination with Trust officers, Faculty and curriculum leaders, carry out an intensive review of teaching and student work. Students are involved in the quality assurance process and as a school we conduct regular student voice across the whole school. Findings, including areas of best practice and areas for improvement, are shared with subjects and monitored by the leadership team. The Director of Faculties and Curriculum Leaders carry out their own, regular, quality assurance processes to ensure student progress is understood and improvements are informed.
Our aim is for reporting to be insightful, current, accurate, regular and to impact on student progress through:
- Providing for all staff and parents an assessment calendar that is tailored to coordinate with key events for each year group
- Providing a management system for staff to efficiently enter reports and grades and providing training on this process
- Ensuring all students receive a Current Grade Report following each formal assessment session and at parents’ evenings
- Training staff in providing assessment information for Current Grade documents
- Providing detailed letters with Current Grade Reports which explain the content
- Providing an opportunity for parents to contact staff to discuss any queries or concerns with Current Grade Reports
- Reviewing the content and format of Current Grade Reports on a regular basis
- Checking and proofreading all grades and reports before they are issued.