How we assess our children - Gray's Farm Primary Academy

How we assess our children

At Gray's Farm Primary Academy, all children are assessed at regular intervals throughout the year to ensure consistent and accurate recording and monitoring of their levels. They are assessed in reading, writing and maths, which allows the children to understand where they are currently, how they have progressed, and crucially what they need to do to improve. Teachers work alongside colleagues in half termly moderations. This ensures consistency across the school and that meaningful discussion is had around each child’s attainment in reading, writing and maths in order to identify next steps for the class.

How do we assess reading?

In the EYFS and Key Stage One, children are assessed through our phonics programme Read Write Inc. When children join Gray's Farm, they complete an initial phonics screening so that their phonics knowledge can be determined. Once this has been identified, they then take part in a daily phonics session within a group that matches the stage of learning they are at. After this initial assessment, children are then reassessed every half term to identify which new sounds they have learnt; they are then regrouped accordingly for the next half term. 

Once children have learnt all of their phonics sounds and can read at an age appropriate pace, they move on to our whole class reading sessions. This usually takes place in Year 2 or 3. Whole class reading sessions take place daily and are used as an opportunity for continuous teacher assessment. This happens through class discussions, paired work as well as working independently. In Key Stage Two, we also use Accelerated Reader to help with our assessment of reading.  The children read their Accelerated Reader books both at home and in school.  The children will then complete a quiz in school.  These quizzes provide us with data, such as the children’s reading age and information about their knowledge and understanding of a text. 

As well as these assessment tools, children in Years 1 - 6 also complete a NTS Reading Paper once a term. This assessment involves children reading a range of text types and then answering questions about what they have read. These tests provide teachers with further insight into a child's understanding and comprehension of what they have read. 

All of these tools combined provide us with enough information to make an accurate teacher assessment.

How do we assess writing?

Teachers assess the children’s writing each and every lesson and every time they mark books – looking for success and areas to develop which informs future planning in order to move the children forward. Teachers identify pupils who need further feedback to support or stretch them.

Writing is formally assessed and moderated on a termly based around key writing objectives developed from Target Tracker and the Writing Framework - based on the National Curriculum.  The teacher will look at a wide selection of writing in the child’s books to inform their overall judgement and set children targets. The writing is also moderated by a range of teachers and compared with other children within and across year groups to ensure consistency. 

Educate Ernie – Children are given a short weekly task, which assesses their grammar and punctuation skills. These are always skills that have been previously taught and are revisited in order to ensure children recall what they know. These activities are adapted to suit each class and ability.

Dictation – Our weekly dictation task is designed to see if the children can apply spelling rules they have been learning in in class. It also helps the teachers to see if children recall how to use punctuation. Analysis of these assessments is then used to inform future planning and interventions.

How do we assess maths?

Again, teachers are constantly assessing the children throughout the math sessions and when marking. Teachers will identify groups or individuals who require additional support or stretch and challenge and give verbal feedback, interventions or challenge tasks accordingly.

All children complete a mini-assessment once a week called ‘Can You Still…?’ to assess fluency and quick recall of skills previously taught to ensure they remember their learning. These activities are adapted to suit each class and ability. Analysis of these assessments is then used to inform future planning and interventions.

Children will also complete a termly test paper (PUMA) which provides an accurate indication (alongside teacher assessment) of whether they are working at the expected level, above or below. These tests involve arithmetic and reasoning questions specific to the National Curriculum expectations for each year group.

Key fact assessment is important to support fluency. In KS1, this is a 5 minute recall test of addition and subtraction number bonds and multiplication questions (involving 2’s, 5’s and 10’s times tables). In KS2, this is a 5 minute recall test of multiplication and division facts up to 12 x 12. These tests are completed once a week and progress is monitored to ensure all are moving forward.

Passports are another great assessment tool. These are specific to each child and build on number fluency, speed and inverse. They start from number bonds and simple multiplication and get progressively harder as they move through the countries and continents. Children are expected to show that they have met their targets at least three times in class, before being sent to Passport Control to be assessed. When successful, they are presented with a certificate, badge and a new set of targets.