Assessment

Assessment plays a crucial role in the learning and teaching at Whitchurch High. Assessment covers a wide range of elements in relation to students’ work in school.  We have produced this guide to assist in understanding what you can expect and how you can keep track of your child’s progress.

Assessment for Learning

While we often associate assessment with exam grades, the most important assessment that takes place happens in lessons on a day-by-day basis – assessment for learning.  Our teachers will check for students learning through questioning, task setting and by reviewing written and oral responses to the work they set.

This allows teachers to respond to the needs of different learners and to understand whether students have mastered a particular skill or fully understood key subject knowledge. The school uses the codes WWW (what went well) and EBI (even better if) to show students what they have done well and what they need to do to improve their work.

We encourage all parents to discuss their children’s progress by looking at the work in their books, as this will provide an up-to-date picture as to how your child is progressing in most subjects.

Teacher Feedback and Students’ Responses

The school is placing a strong emphasis on the importance of students responding to the assessment for learning work carried out in lessons or through teacher marking.  This means that, as directed, students should respond to the suggestions made to them to improve their work.  This may take many different forms, such as:

  • writing out key spellings three times,
  • correcting punctuation,
  • correcting inaccurate answers,
  • explaining what went wrong,
  • improving answers with extended detail,
  • re-drafting to improve a piece of work,
  • posing themselves improvements for future work.

We also promote peer- and self-assessment marking.  This can help develop students’ understanding of what is expected in their work and, especially at Key Stages 4 and 5, to enable them to understand the mark schemes used in their qualifications.
Our marking policy is aimed at making it clear to students, as well as you as parents, which work has been assessed by teachers and which work they have assessed or amended themselves in response to the marking. Green pen marking is that done by teachers, red pen marking is completed by the students.

Tracking Progress – Reports Explained

Years 7, 8 and 9

We report progress in grades rather than levels.  This allows you to have a clear idea of your child’s progress across departments. We use a grade system similar to GCSE – running from A to G grade.  These mirror the GCSE pass grades.  In reporting on grades, teachers are projecting the grades likely to be achieved, given the standard of work students are completing to date.

It is important to note that teachers cannot expect to predict accurately at key stage 3 how students will achieve when they move onto GCSE qualifications These grades do not give a guarantee that students will go on to perform at this level at GCSE, which will deal with more challenging content.

However, whilst there is no guarantee, we believe this will give a good steer as to the current progress students are making using a system that most people are more familiar with. It also allows for continuity of assessment across key stages 3 and 4.

Setting Targets

Setting targets is an important factor in helping students to make the sort of progress that will allow them to reach their potential.  The school uses written and verbal targets on a day-to-day basis that allow students to make the steps required to achieve better in their subjects.  These will be found in their books as they work through the school year.

In addition, the school use the information from keys stages 2, 3 and 4 in order to set appropriate but challenging targets for students to achieve throughout their time with us.  These targets are based on teacher assessments and national test results, as well as the expertise of our teachers.

In year 9 we use teacher assessment alongside results from CATs (Cognitive Ability Tests) to set subject specific targets. At KS4 and 5 Level, the school uses an organisation called ALPs to assist in the process of setting targets. At GCSE Level these targets are based on the national test scores and the patterns of outcomes achieved by similar students at GCSE Level on a national level.  At A Level these targets are based on the range of GCSE results achieved and the patterns of outcomes achieved by similar students at A Level on a national level. Teachers use the ALPS targets alongside their knowledge of the students to set aspirational and challenging targets for all our students.

We use these targets to track students’ progress and to identify where students may need further support to reach their potential.

Targets are not a guarantee that a student will achieve particular grades in their qualification.  That will depend on how hard they work and how well they are able to develop their skills and knowledge in specific subject areas.

By the same token, these targets are not a limitation on any student. If students out-perform targets in particular subject areas, they will be amended to further raise aspiration.

Students in year 9 onwards will be issued with targets by their individual subject teachers and these will appear on the interim reports sent from the school.

Reports

In addition to the ongoing progress that is given in books, we send reports to parents throughout the school year to give an overall picture of progress. There are two types of report that we send in years 7 - 11, an interim report and a full report. In years 12 and 13 we send interim reports.

Interim Reports

Interim reports are sent directly to parents electronically.  These reports give an update on the following areas:

Attainment – this will be reported as a grade and will be what we expect a student to achieve given their working standards and effort to date. The range of grades for key stage 3 are A to G. The range of grades for key stage 4 are A* to G, unless it is a vocational qualification. For AS level the grades are A to E and for A2 (full A Level) A*-E. Further information will be printed within the reports to clarify these codes.

Attitude to Learning (ATL) – this will be reported as a number, from 1 to 4 in four different areas.  This is a measure of the way in which the student applies themselves to their learning, both in lessons and work they complete at home.

The four areas are as follows:


ATL 1

Works hard and tries their best

ATL 2

Is kind and respectful towards staff and their peers in the classroom

ATL 3

Does their best to complete homework and on-line learning on time

ATL 4

Arrives at lessons ready to learn with the correct equipment

 

The codes used are:

1

Always

2

Mostly

3

Sometimes

4

Rarely

 

Attendance – the student’s attendance record as taken at the point of the running of the report.

Behaviour and Achievement Points – these are the reward and sanction points issued for your child during the school year. 

Students will also be encouraged to use the interim report to reflect on their progress and set targets going forward that will support them in maintaining or improving their performance.

Full Reports

Full reports will also have the information above. In addition, the report will contain a prose by the form tutor summarising each student’s progress and identifying how they might develop further.

Reporting Schedule

Reports are sent out during the year. The dates can be found on the school calendar on the website.

In addition to the school’s reports, we will issue the Welsh Government National Test result data at the end of the academic year for Years 7 to 9.

Year 9 will also receive their official end of key stage 3 levels at a similar time.

Progress Evenings

In addition, there is one opportunity per academic year for parents and carers to meet with the teachers to discuss academic progress in years 7 - 11 and two opportunities in years 12 and 13. The dates for these evenings can be found on the school calendar.