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.

We have introduced a new marking policy this year which 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

Changes to Key Stage 3

This year, we have made changes to the way we report on progress at key stage 3 to bring it in line with key stages 4 and 5.  This will mean that progress will be reported in grades rather than levels.  This will also allow for you have a clearer idea of your child’s progress across departments.
We will 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.

At Key Stage 3, we initially will set 2 broad targets: a Humanities Target (covering subjects English, Languages, History, Geography, RE, Drama); and Science target (covering subjects such as Maths, Science, DT, ICT). Targets in Art, PE and Music will be refined towards the later stages of year 7, based on their ability in these areas.

At A Level, the school uses an organisation called ALPs which assist in the process of setting targets.  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.

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 will be issued with targets by their individual subject teachers during the first term.  They will also 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 – an interim report and a full report.

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.  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. We have made changes to the definitions to ATL grades this year, setting clearer definitions and higher expectations for those achieving the top ATL grade.

 

ATL

Descriptor

This means that you …….

1

Displays a positive attitude to learning at all times.

  • Work consistently well within lessons and are very focused.
  • Approach out of class learning with full commitment and complete all work to a standard that reflects your ability.
  • Are working at a rate that will ensure you maximise your achievement.

2

Generally displays a positive attitude to learning.

  • Work well in lessons and are generally well focused.
  • Complete most out of class learning to a standard that reflects your ability.
  • Are working at a rate that will probably ensure you achieve your potential.

3

At times the attitude shown to learning impacts on the progress being made.

  • Work reasonably well in lessons although at times can lack focus.
  • Complete out of class learning but it does not always reflect your ability and/or is not always completed.
  • Are working at a rate which may result in you not achieving your potential.

4

The attitude to learning is impacting on progress considerably.

  • Generally, do not work to the best of your ability.
  • Either do not complete out of class learning, or when it is completed it is below the expected standard.
  • Are working at a rate which will result in you not achieving your potential.

 

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. This year, in response to parental requests, we will also include the average points achieved in each student’s cohort to help give some context to this information.

Interim reports will also be shared with students in form time, where they will be encouraged 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, each subject will provide a prose report summarising each student’s progress and identifying how they might develop further.

Reporting Schedule 2018-19

Reports are sent in the following schedule.

 

T1

T2

T3

Year 13

w/c 5th November (interim)

14th January (interim)

11th Mar (full)

Year 12*

w/c 10th December (interim)

4th March (interim)

1st April (interim)

Year 11

w/c 5th November (interim)

28th January (full)

1st April (interim)

Year 10

w/c 10th December (interim)

1st April (interim)

15th July (full)

Year 9

w/c 17th December (interim)

29th April (full)

15th July (interim)

Year 8

w/c 17th December (interim)

8th April (interim)

15th July (full)

Year 7

w/c 17th December (interim)

8th April (interim)

15th July (full)

 

* Please see note below regarding this year group.

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. 

ear 9 will also receive their official end of key stage 3 levels at the same time.

Parents Evenings

In addition, there is one opportunity per academic year to meet with the teachers to discuss academic progress. The schedule is outlined below.

Parents Evenings 2018-19

  • Thurs 25th Oct – Year 12 Parents Evening (1) 3.30-6pm
  • Thurs 22nd Nov – Y11 Parents Evening 3.30 – 6pm
  • Thurs 13th Dec – Y13 Parents Evening 3.30- 6pm
  • Wed 9th January & Thursday 10th January – Y9 Parents Evening (Upper School) 3.30 – 6pm
  • Thurs 21st March – Y12 Parents Evening (2) 3.30-6pm
  • Thurs 4th April – Y10 Parents Evening 3.30- 6pm
  • Tues 14th May & Wed 15th May – Y8 Parents Evening 3.30-6pm
  • Tues 4th June & Wed 5th June – Y7 Parents Evening 3.30 – 6pm

Year 12 Arrangements 2018-19

Please note, as communicated to parents of Year 12, we are trialling a different approach for the current academic year.  We are replacing the full report with an additional Parents Evening.