Assessment without levels
The new assessment system has been developed carefully to meet DfE guidance and Target Tracker’s Philosophy of Assessment.
Tracking Attainment with Statements
At its heart, any assessment tool must have Assessment for Learning and this is the fundamental building block on which any more expansive data must sit.
The new National Curriculum has set out clear expectations for what children should achieve by the end of each key stage and, for English, Maths and Science, has provided guidance as to when in each phase this content should be covered. The programme of study expected end of year outcomes have been adapted to help support practitioners in making their step judgements over each academic year. These formative statements may be shared, by Class Teachers with pupils to help define and guide next steps in learning.
The statutory statements published in the National Curriculum show end of year expectations. Curriculum advisers have worked collaboratively with highly skilled practitioners to produce guidance and exemplification to support transition and, a key concern with any new system, moderation. These examples are presented in the Target Tracker software as additional statements of guidance, examples of children’s work, or a video file with audio.
This supporting guidance for Class Teachers is available for English, Maths, Science and Computing.
Tracking Attainment and Progress with Steps
To track pupil attainment Target Tracker have devised a system of steps. This performs the function of communicating progression and attainment in a simple format that may be aggregated to produce reports of overall and average progress. This is based on a carefully considered logical approach to assessment and follows on from the assessment system in EYFS.
The terminology has been selected for consistency and clarity, but also to avoid any suggested judgement when describing the attainment of pupils working below the expected band for their year group.
Each year band has been broken down into six steps: beginning (b) beginning + (b+) working within (w) working within + (w+) secure (s)secure + (s+)
The three broader sections may be thought of in these terms:
Beginning – Pupil learning is chiefly focussed on the criteria for the band. There may be minimal elements of the previous band still to gain complete confidence in.
- Working Within – Pupil learning is fully focussed on the criteria for the band. Up to 70% of the statements are confidently achieved.
- Secure – Confidence in all of the criteria for the band. There may be pupil learning still focussed on gaining thorough confidence in some minimal elements but the broad expectations for the band have been met.
Where the sections have been broken down into steps this is designed to allow the practitioner to represent and report progress for a pupil where they may not feel that the best fit is within the next section. For example, a pupil may be assessed as Band 2 Beginning in the Autumn term in year 2. The next time the practitioner records a summative assessment they may not feel that the pupil has progressed to Working Within, but the pupil has made progress. An assessment of Beginning + allows that progress to be represented and will feed through to overall class and key stage reporting. The inability to record smaller progress measures was a frustrating issue with the outgoing levels (and points) system.
At appropriate termly or half termly intervals, practitioners select a step to show where each pupil is working. Lower and high achieving pupils may be working at a band outside of their current year, and can be recorded as such.
Practitioners may assess steps in core and foundation subjects:
To allow for the tracking and analysis of progress in a statistical context a one point scale has been adopted. The numbers below each step reference the equivalent scale point.
This means it will be easy for schools to monitor pupil attainment in the context of age related expectation and progress over time to help children reach the new secondary ready standard.
For children to be working at age related expectation, they would need to reach the secure (s) step at the end of the appropriate year. Secure + effectively represents the consolidation of the band and, while pupils will still need to pass through it in the following year, it allows settings to identify pupils who, while still operating at age related expectations, have attained a more thorough and wide ranging grasp of the content and concepts. Secure + demonstrates the foundation from which a pupil may proceed onto the criteria in the following band.
The New Curriculum allows schools to have the flexibility to introduce content earlier or later than set out in the programme of study. It is important for children to have opportunities to apply their understanding in a range of challenging real life contexts, and to demonstrate their mastery of a particular skill at a deep and thorough level before moving on. We would expect children who are secure (s) in the band of statements they are working on to have these experiences, and therefore be working at the secure + (s+) step before being assessed against the following year band statements.
Setting Targets for Progress
Target Setting is an emotive and, potentially, controversial method when misused. When taken as another part of the holistic ‘tool box’ of assessment practice it can help identify and focus learning for pupils falling behind or showing potential for accelerated progress. The DfE refer to ‘sufficient progress’ as a way to represent progress over the key stage or Primary phase. While this has yet to be clarified it may be assumed that the equivalent progress to the content for a single academic year would be considered sufficient.
To meet age related expectations, children should reach the secure (s) step by the end of the appropriate year. To move from secure (s) in one year band to the next is 6 steps over 6 half terms. Therefore this equates to 1 step or 1 point of progress each half term. Any pupil target needs to be reviewed by the class teacher to ensure it is appropriate and may be changed where necessary.
Pupils working below band 1 and pupils with SEN
Year 1 pupils who are working below the beginning of the Year 1 band could still be assessed in the EYFS 40-60 w, 40-60 w+, 40-60 s or 40-60 s+ month band steps. Schools may wish to continue to assess Year 1 pupils using statements from the EYFS month bands in the Autumn and Spring terms. Assessments made in the EYFS section of the Target Tracker software will not transfer across to Key Stage 1, as the subjects do not match. For pupils with SEN, it will possible to assess using P-Scales so progression through into the Year band 1 can be tracked. Progress for these pupils can still be tracked using our one point scale.
Managing School data and Reporting to parents
The Target Tracker assessment system makes it easy for schools to clearly communicate pupil attainment and progress to parents. By using the step assessments, teachers can clearly help parents understand whether their child is working at the appropriate point for their age, and by using the highlighted statements can provide guidance on what children need to do to progress.
Tracking pupil data using the Target Tracker software means that statistical analysis can be done simply and effectively and can provide data on pupil attainment and progress on a summative whole school level, or deeper down at pupil level in a few simple clicks.