Formal assessments are essential in many ways and form the basis of all attainment tracking and monitoring at KAA. They give teachers accurate information on the understanding of each child, encourage children to reflect on their own understanding and revise independently, prepare students for the rigours of external assessment at GCSE and beyond, show which students need further intervention and support, and keep parents informed of their child’s attainment and how they can support their progress at home.
The KAA assessment model aims to make the most of the freedoms which schools now have over assessment and curriculum by establishing a system for marking and feedback which is clean, clear and simple to understand. Assessments test students’ understanding of the key curriculum concepts and principles in the scheme of work, and not merely a superficial recall of information. This encourages students to become ‘experts’ in each subject discipline.
At KAA we recognise that learning isn’t completely linear and therefore we track student progress in a way that reflects this. The curriculum is backward planned, and written to provide rigorous progress and development towards the very highest grades at GCSE. As a consequence, student progress is built into the fabric of each subject’s curriculum. In order to monitor how well students are mastering this curriculum (and thus making progress towards these GCSE grades) we track student attainment at each assessment cycle, and compare it with each individual student’s target.
Our system for setting targets, marking assessments and tracking attainment is based on the government policies of not using National Curriculum (NC) Levels in KS3 and introducing new GCSE grades in KS4. By developing our own, in-house assessment and tracking systems, which use percentages and not levels, we are able to design and mark assessments in a way which gives students straightforward, powerful feedback on what they have done well on and what they need to do next to improve.
Our assessment cycle ensures that students reflect on their performance in each subject, they are encouraged to highlight areas in which they have done well, but mostly importantly to work on the areas they need to improve. At KAA we know we learn best when we learn from our mistakes. KAA students will not become overly focused on their absolute attainment, but instead engage closely with the precise feedback their teachers give them.
At the beginning of the year students are given an End of Year target in each subject area, their performance during each assessment is then based on distance from their target rather than absolute attainment. Each assessment cycles consists of a revision week, an assessment week, and a review week which allows students to prepare before assessments, and reflect on their progress afterwards.
Revision Week – In preparation for each assessment students are encouraged to reflect on the learning that has taken place in that cycle. Effective revision is taught in each subject area so that every student is fully prepared.
Assessment Week – Students sit summative assessments every half term in the core subjects (English, Maths and Science), and every term in all other subjects. At the end of the summer term students sit End of Year Exams in all subjects.
Review Week – Review Week provides an opportunity for teachers to ‘re-teach’ any skills or knowledge students have found particularly difficult and have struggled to apply in the summative assessment. By reviewing their performance students are able to identify areas for improvement and set meaningful goals for the next term.
For further information please see our Assessment Policy 2017-2018.