Development of assessment across the schools in North West Leicestershire
At present, students at Castle Rock are assessed using a Pathway system which tracks progress and attainment across both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.
The Pathway system was initially developed by the six upper schools from the Ashby, Ibstock and Coalville area, comprising two upper schools (Ashby and King Edward VII) and four high schools (Castle Rock, Ibstock, Ivanhoe and Newbridge).
The six schools worked closely together to design a common curriculum that spanned Key Stage 3 and 4, and that ensured that all students in the area shared an entitlement to the same core of knowledge, understanding and skills (known as the core curriculum) throughout high school.
In response to the reformed 1-9 GCSEs, where curriculums have had a greater level of content introduced and a greater emphasis placed end of year exams (as opposed to modules or coursework), schools within the Apollo Partnership Trust have continued to develop the Pathway system to make sure that there is continuity between Key Stage 3 and 4.
The Pathway system defines the progress steps at each year for all students, building on their achievement in their primary school, to fully achieve their potential at the end of Year 11.
Pathway descriptors and colours are as follows:
At the start of Year 7, students are given an Expected Pathway.
This is the minimum pathway which we expect students to be working at. The Expected Pathway is worked out from student’s Key Stage 2 SAT results.
The Current Pathway is an indication of where students are currently working.
Students are currently awarded their Current Pathway twice a year;
• As a result of the Mid-Year Assessments (mock exams) in Dec/Jan
• As a result of the End of Year Assessments in June
Progress matrices are used to highlight the number of students who are not making the necessary progress, and to show how far away they are from their Expected Pathway.
Departments will use these matrices to annotate or highlight the specific students who have not reached their Current Pathway. Those students who are working below their Expected Pathway will be given a wide range of interventions in order to try and get them back on to their Expected Pathway.
The Mid Year Assessments (mock exams) and End of Year Assessments have been written in conjunction with staff at Castle Rock High School and Newbridge High School, the two High Schools that are part of the Apollo Partnership Trust.
Where possible, the same exam/assessment has been used across both schools to allow for comparisons and joint analysis. Where this has not been possible due to differences in texts or topics studied, staff have worked together to make sure that the structure of the paper and level of difficulty is the same across both schools to allow for some comparisons.
The exams/assessments have been designed to test knowledge, skills and understanding covered in the Key Stage 3 curriculum. Where available, Key Stage 3 exam papers designed by examination boards have been used, and where appropriate past GCSE questions have been used.
The results of these assessments are converted in to percentages and then the GCSE grade boundaries for 2018 will be used to report a Pathway to students and parents.
Additional Forms of Assessment
Assessment serves many purposes, but the main purpose of assessment at Castle Rock is to help teachers, parents and students understand what they have learnt and need to learn, and plan their next steps in learning.
At Castle Rock, the year is divided in to six, 6 week Review Periods. At the end of each Review Period the progress of each student is monitored through an end of topic test. The results of these tests are reported to parents every six weeks as a raw score and a percentage.
Teachers also use formative assessments to constantly assess students understanding, knowledge and skills. Formative assessment refers to a wide variety of methods that teachers use to assess students understanding, skill and comprehension. Teachers use formative assessment to adapt learning, alter the pace of a lesson, plan for future learning episodes and communicate with parents.
Formative assessment can include observing students’ responses to learning activities and unstructured situations, student’s completion of set tasks, questioning and discussion, presentations, completed class work, success in quizzes and tests, marking and review of written work and performed work.
We involve students in recognising and assessing their progress in ways that reflect their level of understanding. This varies from sharing in the celebration of achievement at the end of a lesson, peer assessment, and identifying (with support) what they have achieved in a lesson and finally to discussing and reviewing learning objectives. We expect students to be able to understand their IEP goals and targets and the objectives set for each lesson.
Classroom staff will help them to understand the progress they are making and what they need to do next to continue learning and make further progress. Formal and informal praise and incentive systems are used to reward student’s good progress. Intervention strategies for students who are underachieving or underperforming are discussed with the students concerned.
We involve parents in the Review process at Parent evenings and SEN Annual Reviews by seeking their views on their children’s progress and priorities for the following year and sending them;
• Six progress reports reporting on end of topic test scores
• Bi-Annual progress reports reporting students Pathways as a result of formal assessments
• IEP’s for SEN students
We also use phone, e-mail and or face to face contact, whenever the need arises to discuss any concerns about their child’s progress identified from tracking assessment information.
The school operates an open door policy where parents may request information and or a meeting to discuss their child’s progress at any time.