In April 2014 the Department for Education released ‘Assessment Principles’, a document outlining the core values all effective assessment systems should implement as part of the changes introduced with the 2014 National Curriculum. As the ‘Government will not impose a single system for ongoing assessment’, it is up to schools to implement a system that can: ‘Give reliable information to parents about how their child, and their child’s school, is performing, help drive improvement for pupils and teachers and make sure the school is keeping up with external best practice and innovation.’
Over the last 3 years we have been using target tracker as our main pupil tracking system. This allowed senior leaders and teacher to keep track on how well our children were progressing in reading, writing and mathematics. Target tracker have developed a pupil tracking system, taking inspiration from their successful EYFS model, an effective assessment system that meets the needs of all school stakeholders and supports our school in embedding the DfE ‘Assessment Principles’ referenced above.
This has been developed to ensure that the useful elements of the outgoing levels system are retained, ensuring data from school to pupil level is presented and recorded with clarity and consistency.
- Assessment should have a purpose at every level for everyone involved:
- Pupils should be given appropriate feedback on their learning from the formative assessments carried out by class teachers.
- Class teachers should be able to use formative assessment to support planning and implementation of a curriculum designed to meet the needs of learners.
- Teachers and school leaders should be able to use assessment to help ensure that the pupils who need specified intervention are quickly identified, appropriately supported and monitored so that all can fully achieve their potential and no one is left to struggle behind.
- School Leaders should be able to use summative assessment as a tool for monitoring the progress and attainment pupils make, to ensure the school is helping pupils achieve their potential.
- Parents should be able to get a clear and accurate sense of their child’s achievement and progress as well as areas where they can support development.
- Governors should be able to use data to ensure the school is supporting pupils learning effectively.
- Schools can provide data for inspection teams to show how children are performing.
The Target Tracker Assessment System
Target Tracker has been developed carefully to meet DfE guidance working with what we believe assessment should look like.
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 are shared with pupils to help define and guide next steps in learning.
The statutory statements published in the National Curriculum show end of year expectations. Target Tracker 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 is available for English, Maths, Science and Computing.
Tracking Attainment and Progress with Steps
To track pupil attainment Target Tracker 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 we have introduced 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 half termly intervals, our teachers select a step to show where each pupil is working. We only allow lower achieving pupils, children in receipt of an EHCP or statement in old language, to be shown working at a band outside of their current year. In very extreme cases, highly gifted children, children working at least two years above their age related expectation in a complete subject, will be given a personal learning programme designed to deepen their knowledge, skills and understanding.
Target Tracker assessment sheets