2 Good assessment in secondary schoos March 2003 HMI 462
3 Good assessment in secondary schoos Crown copyright 2003 Document reference number: HMI 462 To obtain an additiona copy, contact: Ofsted Pubications Centre Teephone: Fax: E-mai: Web site: This document may be reproduced in whoe or in part for non-commercia educationa purposes, provided that the information quoted is reproduced without adaptation and the source and date of pubication are stated.
4 Good assessment in secondary schoos Contents Introduction 1 Purpose of the report 1 Assessment in secondary schoos 1 Recent deveopments 1 Coverage of the report 2 Main findings 4 Part 1: Good schoo assessment systems 6 Introduction 6 Using data 6 Teaching, marking and setting targets 9 Monitoring and supporting progress 15 Invoving pupis 18 Communicating with parents 20 Managing assessment 21 Connecting the eements of assessment 23 Part 2: Good assessment in subjects 26 Introduction 26 Using data 26 Teaching, marking and setting targets 27 Forma assessment 31 GCSE coursework 32 Standardisation 33 Evauation and deveopment 33 Concusions and recommendations 34 Issues for attention 34 Annex: Schoos visited 36
5 Good assessment in secondary schoos 1 Introduction Purpose of the report 1. This report is about the ways in which schoos can use assessment to improve earning and achievement. It draws evidence from essons and schoos systems for academic monitoring to iustrate some of the most effective strategies used to guide, chaenge and support pupis. Assessment in secondary schoos 2. A consistent message of Ofsted reports over severa years has been the indifferent quaity of assessment compared with other aspects of teaching in secondary schoos.the Annua Report 2000/01 shows the quaity and use of ongoing assessment to be good or better in ony 37% of schoos inspected. By contrast, teachers genera professiona knowedge and understanding are good in 90% of the schoos, with teachers panning of a simiar quaity in 74%. 3. One probem is that marking to inform pupis of their progress is inconsistent, with teachers often giving insufficient guidance to pupis about how to improve their work and providing few opportunities for pupis to refect on comments. Another probem is that reports to parents are sometimes weakened by band writing that fais to describe strengths and weaknesses ceary enough or by a ack of information that shows how pupis are achieving in reation to nationa standards.their usefuness can aso be affected by varied formats that make comparisons between subjects difficut. 4. Responses to pre-inspection questionnaires in 2000/01 show that the parents of secondary schoo pupis are very satisfied with the education their chidren receive: over 90% say their chidren ike schoo and are making good progress and that the schoos expect their chidren to work hard and do their best. However, fewer parents think that they are kept we informed about how their chid is getting on.this aspect, aong with the extent of homework, receives the owest rating. 5. The need to strengthen assessment procedures is refected in evidence about the assessment skis of trainees at the end of their initia teacher training (ITT) courses. Across 166 inspections of ITT providers in 2000/01, inspectors judged trainees skis in monitoring, assessment, recording, reporting and accountabiity to be significanty weaker than their subject knowedge or their panning, teaching and cassroom management skis. Athough the assessment training provided by higher education institutions is generay good, a major shortcoming of many trainees schoo experiences is the ack of emphasis on finding out what pupis aready know, understand and can do, and then using the outcomes to infuence how and what they teach. Schoo mentors rarey comment on assessment issues after observing essons or during training sessions.trainees marking of pupis work is usuay conscientious, but most schoos are at the eary stages of using the data they have on pupis prior attainment and tend not to share the fu possibiities with their trainees. Recent deveopments 6. A focus in many schoos on what is commony termed assessment for earning has been prompted in part by initiatives such as the iteracy and numeracy strategies. Assessment for earning has been defined as the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by earners and their teachers to decide
6 2 Good assessment in secondary schoos where the earners are in their earning, where they need to go and how best to get there. 1 Attention to assessment for earning has been reinvigorated by the findings of recent research invoving teachers seeking to improve aspects of their practice In February 2000 the Secretary of State for Education asked the Quaifications and Curricuum Authority (QCA) for advice on deveoping the assessment system beyond In its response, the QCA concuded that: assessment defined in its broadest terms can make a significanty enhanced contribution to raising standards in schoos if the focus is paced on the professiona skis of teachers.the benefits to be gained from this incude: improved focus on the quaity of teaching and earning greater carity of objectives and expectations in the cassroom cearer understanding of nationa standards greater consistency and rigour in the assessment process improved understanding among pupis of how they can earn most effectivey better appreciation among parents of how they may support their chidren s earning. 8. The QCA recommended that, in concert with coeagues in what was then the Department for Education and Empoyment (DfEE) and with other organisations, it prepare a ong-term programme of activities that woud support the government s initiatives to raise standards in Key Stages 1 3 by focusing on improving the quaity of teaching and earning. Coverage of the report 9. Part 1 of this report describes the main components of some good assessment systems and expains how they work.to gather evidence, Her Majesty s Inspectors (HMI) visited schoos whose assessment procedures were judged to be very good or exceent in their most recent Ofsted inspection.the schoos were comprehensive and served a range of communities, from inner city to rura. Some had sixth forms and a few were much arger than the average. 10. Inspectors studied the schoos assessment systems, using criteria to guide them. As we as ooking at pupis work and records and visiting essons, they interviewed staff such as assessment co-ordinators, heads of year and form tutors, as we as a sampe of pupis and their parents.they were not expecting the schoos systems to exempify a the criteria, rather to note how different schoos combined a number of important eements.they examined the use of data, target-setting, the ways the schoos monitor and support pupis progress, and the management of assessment, and tried to understand the nature of the wiring behind the systems.they ooked for systems that were economic, in which eements connected neaty and which were successfu in invoving pupis and communicating with parents.the connection between the eements of the system was a key feature. If assessment is to hep pupis to do their best, the various eements of a good system data anaysis, pupi panners, subject 1 Assessment for Learning: 10 principes,assessment Reform Group, Particuary infuentia has been the work of Pau Back and Dyan Wiiam. See, for exampe, Inside the back box: raising standards through cassroom assessment, King s Coege London Schoo of Education, 1998.
7 Good assessment in secondary schoos 3 targets, progress reports, the roes of cass teachers and tutors, marking, additiona support, parenta consutation must successfuy interreate. 11. A major difficuty for schoos is finding the time to attend to and provide for assessment of the earning of individua pupis as we as fufiing statutory obigations.the tension between what schoos are required to do as a minimum and what they wish to do to meet the needs of their pupis is sometimes not easiy reconcied. Reporting requirements are a case in point. Some schoos visited as part of this exercise had taken decisions to report to parents at more frequent intervas than is statutoriy required, whie other schoos visited had good approaches based on provision coser to minimum requirements.the report iustrates how procedures can be both efficient in their use of time and effective in meeting pupis and parents needs. Of particuar importance is that teachers receive the information they need to do the job we, and have the time and opportunity to expoit it. 12. Part 2 of the report iustrates good assessment practice in subjects. It is based on the findings of HMI visits in 2001/02 to schoos whose assessment in particuar subjects was judged by their atest Ofsted inspection to be good or better.this part of the report concentrates on assessment in the cassroom and on the processes of forma assessment, especiay in reation to Genera Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) coursework. As with those visited for the purposes of Part 1, the schoos were comprehensive and served a range of communities.
8 4 Good assessment in secondary schoos Main findings o o o Good assessment practice in the schoos visited derives from scrupuous attention to pupis progress and draws teachers together in working systematicay on achievement. It has been key to improvement in these schoos. The quaity of assessment has had a significant impact on attitudes to earning and on attainment in the schoos by stimuating and chaenging pupis to work hard and by encouraging teachers to focus on how to improve the earning of individua pupis. Good use of data is a basic feature of the schoos practice. In particuar: Key Stage 2 data are gathered as eary as possibe and anaysed carefuy, suppemented by other test data when avaiabe, for cross-referencing pupis with specia needs are identified through individua consutation in Year 6 to enabe smooth transfer from their primary schoo the data provide a baseine to monitor and review individua pupis progress especiay to identify signs of underachievement or unusua potentia and to set targets for the pupis and subject departments. o In reation to teaching, marking and setting targets, pupis are heped to improve their work by: carity in the aims and outcomes of essons teaching methods that invove them activey and emphasise anaysis, discussion, experimentation and thinking ideas through written or ora comments on their work that provide both cear evauation of the content and structure and sensibe advice that eaves them with manageabe action points use of Nationa Curricuum eve descriptions and GCSE grade criteria to show what needs to be done to make progress target-setting that focuses on specific, reevant and achievabe goas. o o o Pupis progress is improved by thoroughgoing monitoring and support, based on informed diaogue among subject and pastora staff about pupis academic progress and their attitudes, behaviour and persona deveopment. Pupis of a ages appreciate teachers showing them how to move on to the next stage of achievement and vaue discussion about their progress with their tutor. The schoos visited take the invovement of parents very seriousy and communicate with them very we.the parents vaue we-written, personaised schoo reports, and they aso appreciate reguar, informa consutation over and above that provided at conventiona parents evenings.we-kept diaries or journas, carefuy monitored, are a vauabe means of communication between pupis, parents and teachers.
9 Good assessment in secondary schoos 5 o Good management of assessment in these schoos: depends on strong direction by senior managers who share a cear vision for what they wish to achieve with a staff provides high-quaity documentation to estabish the expectations and define the procedures connects the eements of the schoo system incuding data anaysis, targetsetting and review, assessment in the cassroom, marking and reporting to parents in a productive and economic fashion uses efficient and accessibe information systems and administrative support to reduce the burden on teachers invoves senior managers monitoring practice thoroughy, supported by midde managers whose oversight of systems is attentive to detai provides continuing professiona deveopment that addresses both difficuties and important new ideas in assessment practice.
10 6 Good assessment in secondary schoos Part 1: Good schoo assessment systems Introduction 13. In setting out to report on good assessment, inspectors considered schoos work under the foowing headings: using data teaching, marking and setting targets monitoring and supporting progress invoving pupis communicating with parents managing assessment connecting the eements of assessment. 14. The visits took into account the extent to which the schoos fufied statutory requirements in assessment and reporting, incuding preparation for end of Key Stage 3 assessments and GCSE and Genera Nationa Vocationa Quaifications (GNVQ) examinations. Part 2 of this report covers forma assessment in more detai. Using data Features of good practice Key Stage 2 data are gathered as eary as possibe and anaysed carefuy (incuding anaysis by gender, ethnicity and mobiity), suppemented by other test data (such as in Engish, mathematics or verba reasoning), when avaiabe, for cross-referencing pupis with specia educationa needs (SEN) or those earning Engish as an additiona anguage (EAL) are identified through individua consutation to enabe smooth transfer from their primary schoo data are used as a baseine to monitor and review individua pupis progress, especiay to identify signs of underachievement or unusua potentia, and to hep set targets for the pupis and subject departments an effective management information system aows individua departments and teachers to access information independenty and in a way taiored to their needs, and aso aows new data to be easiy entered and processed when required subject teachers and tutors use data and other assessment information to review the performance and expectations of pupis, maintaining a productive diaogue with the pupis about their progress test resuts and teacher assessments are anaysed to iuminate aspects of pupis performance and the extent to which progress is consistent with earier data anaysis of the performance of cass groups is used to identify weaker aspects of teaching, which are then addressed through performance management and professiona deveopment.
11 Good assessment in secondary schoos The Ofsted pubication, Changing schoos (2002), evauated arrangements for pupis transferring schoos at the age of 11.The report describes great variation in the range and quaity of information received by secondary schoos and points to the amount of additiona testing carried out by many secondary schoos in Year Amost a of the schoos visited in this survey make use of cognitive abiity tests (CATs) or other tests to provide an assessment of the pupis capabiities on intake, in addition to Key Stage 2 data. Occasionay, a schoo arranges for tests to be taken in Year 6 before prospective pupis transfer.a of the schoos use a range of additiona speciaised assessments to diagnose the earning difficuties of pupis with SEN. Often, speciaist secondary staff undertake visits to partner primary schoos to pick up information about pupis with specia needs as eary as possibe. 17. The schoos use the data they receive from primary schoos or produce themseves, first and foremost to pace pupis into appropriate teaching groups. As Part 2 of the report confirms, effective subject departments making good use of the data consider the teaching approaches and curricuum content they use for different teaching groups and work out appropriate Key Stage 3 targets for themseves and the pupis.a few of the schoos visited discuss the data with both the pupis and their parents, and expain their expectations concerning the Nationa Curricuum eves they predict the pupis shoud attain at the end of Year 9. Most schoos, however, prefer to eave this kind of discussion unti ater and to focus pupis minds on short-term curricuar targets in the first instance. When pupis join Sacred Heart High Schoo at age 11, a range of assessment information is considered, incuding Key Stage 2 test and teacher assessment data, and the outcomes of standardised tests in mathematics, reading and non-verba reasoning.these are used to provide a baseine for individua pupis and benchmarks for the schoo.the data are made avaiabe across the schoo and are used to hep review the pupis progress. At the end of Year 7, pupis take further tests in Engish and mathematics. In ater years, information derived from optiona QCA tests and statutory tests at the end of Year 9 updates the baseine information. The schoo s oca education authority (LEA), Hammersmith and Fuham, makes an exceent contribution to the schoo s awareness of the vaue it adds to pupis attainment by anaysing data at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4. For exampe at the end of Key Stage 3, in addition to the standard information, anaysis is provided by gender, teaching group, stage of fuency in Engish for pupis with Engish as an additiona anguage, stage of the SEN Code of Practice, ethnicity and mobiity. Statistica differences between contextua groups are highighted, as are trends in a the data since 1995.The anaysis provided by the LEA demonstrates the vaue added between Key Stages 2 and 3, based on the average test eve resuts of matched groups of pupis.the trend in the progress made by pupis is based on a the test resuts from A simiar anaysis is done from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4. Schoo-by-schoo anaysis enabes Sacred Heart to see how the performance of its pupis compares with pupis across the borough.the schoo can see, for exampe, how we its Back Caribbean, white, or refugee pupis are performing compared with those in other schoos. 18. It is important to get the management and handing of data right. Members of staff with different roes need different data sets and to be abe to obtain the most up-to-date information easiy. Dixons City Technoogy Coege has deveoped an effective software package that meets its needs. As pupis progress through a year, subject progress eves are
12 8 Good assessment in secondary schoos updated by teachers and the figures are entered by schoo administrative staff. Departments check the data before particuar data sets are printed out. Schoo staff receive what they need. For exampe, the Key Stage 3 co-ordinator requires fu year group ists by aphabetica order and cass, as we as summary data; she then uses the data to compare performance against that of previous years as we as against targets for the current year. Form tutors use the data in pupi interviews. A staff assiduousy check the progress of pupis for whom they have responsibiity against the targets set for them. 19. Carefu anaysis of data, appropriate target-setting and detaied record-keeping are basic to good provision for pupis with SEN. For SEN co-ordinators, the art ies in transating targets for pupis into practica advice for subject teachers. A Year 10 pupi with a statement at Dixons City Technoogy Coege has a specific reading and speing difficuty but is nonetheess academicay capabe. Carefu diagnosis of the pupi s needs ed to advice to teachers that incuded the foowing: provide access to a word processor with spe-checking faciity and voiceoperated software ensure he understands texts before being asked to work on them provide reguar opportunities for discussion about coursework, homework and persona research and in order to verify that he understands work done in cass ensure that the pupi is given opportunities to show what he can do that do not invove use of high-eve writing skis set targets for examination grades commensurate with his high abiity. 20. Data are used in the schoos to chaenge departments to consider in detai the effectiveness of their teaching and other matters, such as grouping arrangements and examination entry poicy. At Sacred Heart High Schoo, heads of department anayse their department s work according to a standard format. Fu subject data are provided by senior management for comment by the head of department foowing discussion. Searching responses are required.the data incude: subject A* G, A* C, A*/A percentage figures achieved, as we as targets aimed for, for the past five years percentages of pupis at a GCSE grades for the past five years a teacher/cass set chart indicating, for the current year, the numbers and percentages of pupis achieving each grade in each set a comparison between the percentages of pupis expecting particuar targets and those actuay achieving them ( In achieving the outcomes above, what worked we and what was ess successfu? ) a chart setting out the vaue added (numbers and percentages gaining 1, 2, 3 eves/making no progress/going down the eve scae) from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4.The questions to departments incude: What vaue has the department added to pupis attainments and achievements in terms of progress from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4? What issues/concerns/future chaenges does this raise for you as head of department and for the department as a whoe? The further three questions heads of department are required to address are: In comparison with other departments and schoo performance as a whoe, how we is the department performing in reation to: (a) performance at A* G,
13 Good assessment in secondary schoos 9 (b) performance at A* C, (c) numbers and percentages achieving A*/A, and (d) number of non-entries? Pease identify and comment on any issues comparison with other departments and the schoo as a whoe raises for you. What do you intend to do this year to improve: (a) performance at A* G, (b) performance at A* C, (c) numbers and percentages achieving A*/A, (d) nonentries? Any other comments on resuts and future strategies for improvement? At The Heathand Schoo, data are interrogated by teachers with responsibiities such as for gifted and taented pupis or the work of earning mentors. Subject teachers are asked to nominate pupis who may show signs of a particuar aptitude or need that has not been highighted either by standardised data or by data from Nationa Curricuum assessments.the ead earning mentor, in taking an overview of a mentoring activity, is abe to cite instances of pupis with high standardised scores for exampe in non-verba reasoning but whose Nationa Curricuum attainment does not refect this. 21. The soution to probems such as this may be earier mentoring, but the critica thing is to identify the pupis in the first pace, for they do not stand out in the way that some SEN, gifted and taented, or GCSE C/D borderine pupis do. Teaching, marking and setting targets Features of good practice teaching expects high achievement and supports it by carity of aims and outcomes, by methods that invove pupis activey and give them some responsibiity for how they earn, by a strong emphasis on anaysis and discussion, and by opportunities to experiment and try ideas out when work is returned, pupis are given written or spoken comments that combine cear evauation with sensibe advice and manageabe action points the quaity and consistency of marking are monitored within departments and by senior managers effective use is made of Nationa Curricuum eve descriptions to demonstrate to pupis what they need to do to progress in their earning and attain higher standards, and pupis preparing for GCSE are trained to assess sampes of work against grade criteria target-setting focuses on specific and achievabe goas reevant to important aspects of knowedge, understanding and skis in the subject. 22. The home of assessment is the cassroom.the teaching seen in the schoos visited commony iustrated the way in which good assessment skis hep pupis to earn effectivey. In successfu essons, confident, knowedgeabe teachers typicay interacted very we with pupis, managing and controing activities so that a the pupis took part.the essons offered, among other features: a wecome to the pupis, who were personay vaued and knew that they woud be expected and heped to do their best carity of aims and expected outcomes, discussed at the outset a range of methods that give pupis some responsibiity for organising how
14 10 Good assessment in secondary schoos they earn, and that invove them in a variety of ways through presentations, dispays, using the whiteboard, simuations, roe pay, quizzes, modeing, the use of memory and reca techniques, and through refecting on the vaue of what has been achieved a coaborative approach to earning, with a strong emphasis on anaysis and discussion opportunities for divergent thinking in an atmosphere that ensures pupis do not fee bad if they make a mistake. 23. Part 2 of the report iustrates these features by reference to the teaching of different subjects. In the foowing exampes of teaching in mathematics and physica education the teachers were abe to buid on pupis existing knowedge to move them towards higher standards. In a mathematics esson at Pittvie Schoo the teacher worked with a Year 8 mixed-abiity group on menta mutipication and division.the esson made exceent use of direct questioning to test the 28 pupis reca of earier earning. During this the teacher gained a very cear picture of the pupis knowedge and understanding. She went on to use graded exampes to iustrate new techniques for mutipying by powers of 10, again with a high eve of pupi participation.the teacher s manner throughout was ivey and expressive. She istened carefuy to the pupis answers and brought into the spoken exchanges contributions from everyone. She showed great ski in taking pupis forward from what they aready understood we.the pupis used individua whiteboards to work through practice questions, enabing the teacher to actuay see how we the pupis understood the mathematica processes invoved.the pupis had re-capped earier earning, had been introduced to new ideas and in the end were abe to consoidate their new earning through practice. The more advanced pupis in the group were given extension questions at appropriate times.the pace of the esson was ivey throughout, with both teacher and the pupis on their toes. At The Heathand Schoo a physica education cass for Year 9 boys from a range of ethnic backgrounds made exceent progress in evauating each other s performance in dance under the direction of a knowedgeabe teacher who had panned the esson carefuy, inking it to the science of the body s movement, and exercise.the object of the esson was to improve each other s performance skis through peer assessment. Demonstration by both the teacher and some of the boys of aspects of good performance to ook out for preceded the boys dividing into pairs in order to evauate each others execution of a Braziian dance sequence, the capoiera, which they had worked on in earier essons.the teacher s vigorous, practica and, at times, commanding approach encouraged the boys to offer positive comment.the boys were abe to make usefu evauations and the teacher was abe to extend their anaysis in a penary session in which ideas about what had been earnt were shared. 24. Good marking provides maximum hep for pupis at the point of earning, especiay where the teachers set targets and share and discuss Nationa Curricuum eve or GCSE criteria as a way of iustrating expected standards. Pupis earn how we they are doing and what they need to do to improve. Pupis are heped most where the quaity of the written or spoken comment on their work gives a cear evauation and sensibe advice that eaves them with action points they are abe to work on. It is aso hepfu if there is continuity in comments from one piece of work to the next.
15 Good assessment in secondary schoos Approaches to marking in different subjects are described in Part 2. A key issue for teachers is baancing coverage of a the work of their groups with in-depth response. In one schoo, a teacher was particuary deiberate in discussing returned work with different individuas over a haf-term, so that coverage of the group was systematic. In another exampe, a design and technoogy teacher provided a comprehensive written evauation of pupis work at a crucia design stage in GCSE coursework, having provided mainy ora comment at earier stages.the written evauation set important targets for the next stage of the work. 26. Targets can mean different things. A schoo or subject department, for exampe, wi have targets to meet in terms of a percentage of pupis expected to attain grade C or better at GCSE and a good many more.a pupi might say, at Key Stage 3: My target is to get a eve 6 for science in my Year 9 SATs.At Key Stage 4 pupis woud amost certainy be aware of a target minimum grade for each subject that they expected to attain in GCSE or GNVQ.At Key Stage 3, however, the intended achievement for a pupi is much more ikey to be expressed in terms of a SMART (specific, measurabe, achievabe, reaistic and time-reated) target, perhaps based on a particuar Nationa Curricuum eve description. At Pittvie Schoo for each modue of the Engish course in Key Stage 3 pupis keep a og in which they record the skis they wi be addressing, the eves or marks achieved, as we as their targets for improvement.the targets are very specific, and reate to the need to practise particuar skis, such as incorporating more verbs into a poem for better effect, or earning how to use a particuar punctuation device.the og enabes the pupis to assess their progress over time. 27. In severa of the schoos visited, a few subject departments attain a remarkabe consistency in their standards of marking, and there is systematic monitoring of pupis books and work by heads of departments and heads of year across the whoe schoo. At Trinity Schoo the head of Year 7 interviews a the pupis in the year group over a six-week period and ooks through their work with them in around six subject areas. She writes brief comments on the work of each pupi which are passed on to the form tutor. If there are issues to do with poor-quaity marking these are passed on to heads of subject and the deputy headteacher. 28. In some practica subjects, advice often cannot easiy be written down, so most support for earning resuts from teacher/pupi interaction in a esson and can appy to the whoe cass. A physica education esson iustrated this we. A teacher at Pittvie Schoo was coaching the boys in the tactics and rues of rugby. He used natura pauses in the pay to discuss and coach. Pupis received feedback on their pay and on how to deveop their skis further.the teacher very effectivey encouraged the pupis to evauate their own standard of performance. Throughout, the pupis were aware of paying strengths and skis eves.they knew what they had to do to improve. 29. At the same schoo, Key Stage 3 assessment criteria in history are shared and discussed with the pupis.the department is experimenting with traffic ighting, where the pupis review the historica skis they have been addressing in a esson and coour a grid red, amber, green to indicate how we they fee they are appying these.this is hepfu to teachers because it encourages them to think more precisey how to pitch subsequent essons, and which skis to review. It is not an easy exercise for a of the pupis, however.the difficuties are described by the head of department:
16 12 Good assessment in secondary schoos Feeding back to pupis what they need to do to get to the next eve has been hard and not aways successfu.the words causation, chronoogy and assessment do not easiy connect with pupis sense of their own work and deveopment. However, we are teaching pupis what the eves mean and this eads to better history as a resut. 30. Target minimum grades are commony used to chaenge pupis in Key Stage 4. The targets are normay based on expectations of achievement at GCSE that stem in part from evidence from Key Stage 3 test data,yellis data and teachers own awareness of the pupi s knowedge and understanding. 3 The best target-setting assists day-to-day earning. At Dixons City Technoogy Coege, very cear guidance is provided on targetsetting in the schoo assessment poicy which is refected in departmenta poicies and the poicy for pupis with SEN caed here the Individua Need poicy. A thorough anaysis of a data on pupis is made: end of Year 9 nationa assessment information, CATs scores and the first term in Key Stage 4 progress grades, by group, ethnicity, gender and individua need. By December of Year 10, targets in a subjects have been negotiated between the pupi, subject teacher and form tutor at a pupi review interview.the YELLIS predicted grades are used as a baseine but in reaity, for most pupis, these represent an average of a grade beow what the coege beieves to be achievabe targets. For this reason, the majority of target grades are raised one eve. In 2001, 80% of pupis achieved their target grades. Targets for coursework (end-of-modue assessments or other written assignments) are aso negotiated, written in panners, checked by parents and tutors, and used to inform each new piece of work. Pupis take any feedback very seriousy, know why targets have been set and strive very hard to achieve them, irrespective of abiity. Learning mentors and earning support assistants hep pupis with weaker organisationa skis to keep track of their targets and provide additiona strategies to enabe pupis to achieve, thus promoting independence. Teachers and tutors reguary refer to individua targets as they go round the cass commenting on pupis work.this is done in T&G (tutor and guidance/persona, socia and heath education) essons three haf-hour sessions each week and subject essons, or by written feedback in cass or homework.the approach is effective because it assesses the pupis grasp of both targets and written comments on their work and is a continuous activity. At Sacred Heart High Schoo,individua education pans are written not just for pupis with SEN, but any pupi experiencing significant difficuty. Any pupi can have the number of negotiated targets reduced for this reason or the form tutor, sometimes assisted by a earning support assistant, may negotiate a cross-curricuar target shared between subjects.this makes the understanding of targets more effective for such pupis. The subjects that gave me the most targets were science and geography. I had to think about the areas I was doing bad in. I am happy with a my targets as they are targets I can work on. Targets are the best part of the schoo...i can t wait for the next ones. Charton Schoo has adopted a simiar approach based on expicitness about progression in earning.the criteria for success at three sub-eves both for Nationa Curricuum eves and GCSE grades, and in pupi-friendy anguage are 3 Year 11 information System: a pupi performance monitoring system devised and administered by the Curricuum, Evauation and Monitoring Centre of the University of Durham. ALIS is the companion A-eve system.
17 Good assessment in secondary schoos 13 provided in cassrooms as we as in exercise books and pupi panners.this gives pupis and teachers a common anguage for discussing attainment and what needs to be done to take it to the next stage.there is a genuine attempt to invove the pupis in the process. The benefits of the approach at its best were seen in the work of a Year 10 boy in Engish and history. David, who was expected to achieve at east five A* C grades, had a stronger interest in science and maths than in these two subjects. His Engish teacher had estabished with him a neat set of five targets for improving writing focused mainy on buiding an argument and making good use of evidence, aong with some associated technica matters (notaby joining sentences up ). David was abe to point to the reevance of these targets to achieving the next eve (expressed as a C/B GCSE grade) and to articuate the progress he had made since the beginning of the year.the marking of his Engish work was highy constructive in this respect; and recent work based on anaysing the Bentey tria case showed that progress was good. He was aso abe to point to the overap with targets for history and was consciousy ooking to appy techniques earned in Engish to that subject, with evident success. In both subjects, eve descriptors were incuded in books or foders and had been annotated by David or his teachers.the Engish teacher in David s case approached the improvement of reading and writing in this a-boy group ike a trade, teaching boys about the skis needed to compete a job and to appreciate the quaity of workmanship in what they read. 31. Pupis preparing for GCSE commony take part in exercises where they assess sampes of work against the reevant criteria, thereby improving their awareness of what they need to do to attain higher standards.when the criteria are rigorousy expored in assessing the work of others this heps pupis to appreciate the standards of their own work, thus putting into practice a form of sef-assessment. 32. At The Chase Schoo and Technoogy Coege,a Year 10 Engish esson demonstrated we the expicit sharing of Engish coursework criteria in an exercise where the pupis did some marking. The teacher had seected a number of extracts from written assignments on Romeo and Juiet competed by the cass. Foowing a reminder of aspects that examiners consider when assessing such pieces such as anguage, dramatic structure, staging dramatic devices and audience response and of the examination board criteria for grade C and grade A performance against those criteria, the cass was invited, using cooured pens, to highight the parts of the extracts which met the respective criteria.working in pairs, the cass faced a considerabe inteectua chaenge here, but pupis were abe to get to grips with the reative quaities of the various extracts, some of which answered the question more effectivey than others.they deepened their appreciation that the use of exampes and specific detai to support a we-reasoned argument scores points, potentiay, against severa of the criteria.this activity worked for the cass at three eves simutaneousy: it deepened the pupis appreciation of the pay s anguage and dramatic quaities; they earned how their understanding of the pay woud be assessed, and they earned by impication more about how to write better assignments in future. 33. Carefuy focused, anaytica work that is directy reated to deveoping in pupis an understanding of examination criteria can often have a wider reevance than the particuar subject or topic under consideration. Two Year 11 pupis at Withernsea High Schoo and Technoogy Coege enjoyed a history esson that reviewed recent examination scripts.the esson
18 14 Good assessment in secondary schoos concentrated on how marks had been awarded in the ight of the mark scheme. The teacher, with the aid of an overhead projector, asked pupis to appy the mark scheme to exempar answers. Using mini-whiteboards, pupis hed up the marks they gave for each answer, foowing genera and paired discussion about appication of the marking criteria.the teacher ensured there was a representative range of exampes.the pupis were asked to consider how their own work coud be enhanced by what they were doing. Time was taken to expore the appication of each eve in the mark scheme and the pupis rapidy gained in confidence and understanding.the work moved them forward in their thinking about specific earning targets that woud improve their own examination performance. In discussing what they had gained from this esson, the two pupis were cear about what they needed to do to improve their own work in history but aso fet that the ideas had reevance for their work in Engish. They were abe to ink what they had earned to the requirement to interpret two short story writers choice of anguage in describing characters and story settings. They recognised that they needed to improve their skis in the quick scanning of a text, but that the history work woud hep them make seections of texts for comparison and interpretation, and sharpened their awareness of the demands of particuar questions. 34. Denbigh Schoo has, over a number of years, estabished an approach to target-setting that has ed to a significant improvement in attainment.whie the attainment of pupis on entry is average, achievements in the three years eading up to the schoo s most recent inspection were in the top range of schoos nationay. As the schoo s inspection report states, the schoo makes exceent use of assessment to ensure pupis do not underachieve and to set very chaenging targets for pupis and departments. Data in Denbigh Schoo are buit up systematicay and professionay on each pupi, beginning with the baseine evidence gained from contributory schoos. As we as the usua range of data, information from the schoo s eectronic registration system is aso incuded.this provides a meticuous record of attendance, behaviour and whether or not homework was done and handed in on time. Managers and teachers use ony the data reevant to them. On entry to the schoo in Year 8 pupis are given three targets for each subject: an accountabiity target (to achieve, say, a eve 6 in Engish at the end of Year 9) is derived from cognitive abiity test and Key Stage 2 test information a professiona target (perhaps to achieve aso eve 6 in Engish) is set by the teacher based on the accountabiity target but aso bearing in mind factors such as the way the pupi is working in terms of eve of commitment a pupi target (perhaps to achieve a eve 7 in Engish at Key Stage 3) is set by the pupi and parents together. At a parents evening, the basis of CATs data is expained and the data themseves shared with parents who, with their chid, are invited to set a target at home for each subject.the parent/pupi target-setting is formaised, with competed data required to be returned to schoo by mid-november aong with a four-point action pan designed to show how the pupi proposes to achieve the stated target eves. A of this is managed by means of a handy expanatory booket that pupis and parents take home from the evening. This consutation event sets the tone for the way in which the schoo approaches target setting at the ater stages of schooing: Key Stage 4 and in the sixth form. At each stage the parents are invited to pay their part.the headteacher is very wiing to chaenge YELLIS and ALIS predictions if there is evidence that they are not in ine with the schoo s own anayses.the schoo sees its roe as providing high-quaity
19 Good assessment in secondary schoos 15 teaching combined with carefu and reguar monitoring of pupis progress a compex matter in a schoo of 1,400 pupis. Heads of department understand what is expected of them in terms of pupis attainment in their subject, and they are given good support in enabing them to deiver resuts to the standard expected.the carefu study of resuts year on year, incuding subject residua anaysis, has been potent in focusing the attention of a staff on the need to raise attainment. Individua teachers receive detaied data on the performance of the pupis they have taught in reation to the targets set for them.they are thus accountabe for their work, but say they appreciate knowing where they stand, and ike a system that requires them to take care over the education of each pupi they teach.where a pupi s attainment is at variance with expectations, the reasons for this are expored professionay. The system works we for the majority of pupis. Importanty, it is supported by administrative staff who dea with teachers correspondence effectivey.the schoo aso depoys haf the time of an extra administrative officer to coate the additiona data from the schoo s eectronic registration system, such as attendance. A professiona assistant is empoyed to gather and sort the data; she understands the educationa issues and the needs of staff for particuar kinds of information, and is capabe of producing reevant anayses and information in response to specific requests. Monitoring and supporting progress Features of good practice successfu systems vary in their detai, but depend upon the avaiabiity of reiabe data, on reguar checks and routines carried out consistenty, and on academic and pastora staff working co-operativey and diigenty to share and use information effectivey target-setting is part of a wider schoo system for checking the progress of pupis and ensuring they have the support they need pupis progress is reguary and systematicay monitored, with a assessments carefuy scrutinised, and tutors having a key roe in discussing overa progress with the pupis in their groups effective monitoring of sixth-form students progress covers both the standards they are achieving and a wider range of criteria about organisation and earning. 35. By raising expectations, achievement targets can be a usefu way of encouraging pupis to do their best. However, uness target-setting operates as part of a wider system for chaenging, supporting and checking on the progress of pupis, it is unikey to have much impact. 36. Systems in the schoos visited vary in detai, but they depend upon the avaiabiity of good data, on carrying out reguar checks and routines consistenty, and on key staff working co-operativey.they cruciay depend on staff being aert to the possibiity of the unanticipated perhaps a pupi experiencing a hidden probem, or an item of data that seems inconsistent with teachers evidence.the principes and practices of good monitoring and support are iustrated we by four schoos. Denbigh Schoo At Denbigh Schoo carefu monitoring heps the pupis to achieve we. Heads of year and heads of department share information effectivey, but the roe of the
20 16 Good assessment in secondary schoos form tutor is centra. Heads of year support and monitor the work of tutors, heped by an additiona teacher attached to each year group who makes space for essentia diaogue between the tutor and pupi. In Year 10, tutors have 20 minutes each day with their tutor groups pus an hour each week for persona, socia and heath education (PSHE). At the start of each term, one PSHE esson is devoted to setting and review, when pupis identify their short-term (usuay genera) targets for the next haf term.they write a short action pan describing what they wi aim to do to meet their targets, using a target and review proforma which, once competed, is ooked at again each week in a specific tutor session, when the pupis review their own performance.this proforma has superseded the conventiona diary in Key Stage 4. The heads of year and tutors hande a reports, incuding, importanty, the haftermy subject progress reports. At the end of each term, achievement data (attendance, homework, and effort) are augmented by an additiona set of tutor grades for organisation, contribution to form group and behaviour. In addition, there is further subject attainment information, normay expressed as a working at eve or grade. Heads of year intervene where pupis give particuar cause for concern usuay about three or four in a tutor group. An intervention might resut in inviting parents in to discuss the situation or might warrant one or another eve of being on report. Praise ists are aso produced, and these are dispayed both in schoo as we as at parents evenings. Tutors themseves have the authority to contact parents directy shoud they fee it necessary. As we as having a necessary data at their fingertips, tutors aso receive information direct from subject eaders or subject teachers about other matters reated to a pupi s academic performance. The subject side of the partnership is iustrated by the modern foreign anguages department which, ike a departments in the schoo, monitors pupis performance cosey and invoves parents as and when needed.troube is taken to personaise a correspondence, and this is made manageabe by exceent schoo administrative support. Communication with tutors incudes concerns as we as praise, and is reguar and consistent.the co-eader of the department estimates that she spends about two hours per week foowing up issues and receives exceent support from tutors and heads of year in doing so. Sacred Heart Schoo Setting targets wi not, on its own, raise standards of achievement.this wi depend on the timey and skifu intervention by teachers and other professionas, and the support of parents. The schoo uses a system caed individua pupi monitoring (IPM), which operates at Key Stages 3 and 4, and invoves setting individua pupi targets for each subject, using prior attainment data (referred to earier in the section on using data).the pupis aso have short-term subject targets. Pupis progress in earning is monitored and reported on by subject teachers at approximatey nine-week intervas three cyces a year.three categories are used: bank (work is appropriate to expectation); minus (working beow potentia and beow a reasonabe eve of performance); star (working to a eve beyond expectation).these assessments are coected and stored on a database. IPM issues are a standing item in departmenta meetings, but specific concerns about the progress of individua pupis are aso discussed between the senior ine manager and head of department. Schoo guidance on departmenta reviews of IPM assessments requires teachers to:
21 Good assessment in secondary schoos 17 consider carefuy why any pupi might have been awarded a minus consider ess visibe pupis whose attainment appears to show progress but, when reated to baseine information, shows itte rea sign of this consider, where pupis have underachieved, whether targets have been reviewed, and what needs to be done in terms of adjusting teaching and/or support strategies (teachers are referred to the schoo s poicy for teaching and earning). Departmenta IPM decisions and action recommendations are copied to the senior ine managers. Heads of department use IPM information to monitor teaching and earning in the department and heads of year use the information to monitor the a-round progress of individua pupis. Heads of year and tutors spot symptoms of difficuty or probems and take eary action, especiay where there may be underachievement.tutors work with heads of year, for exampe if parents are to be contacted and routine monitoring is required. Two suspended timetabe days, in October and March, are used for IPM and academic review.they provide an opportunity for the tutor and pupi to discuss individua progress. For the forma review, pupis are required to compete in advance a pro forma covering a set range of questions. The roe of the form tutor is centra to the effectiveness of the system. Coourcoded sips are inserted in the home/schoo diary that parents must sign. If three pink sips are issued parents are automaticay brought into schoo. Conversey, god sips reward achievements that are above target.this system importanty appies to performance that is other than the academic, and this strengthens the schoo s aim to ink the pupis academic and persona growth.the monitoring process ensures that an individua competes to do better than her previous best. The schoo aims, for each pupi, to raise attainment at the end of Key Stage 3 by at east 1.5 eves above that expected, and at the end of Key Stage 4 by at east two grades above that expected. In 2000, after GCSE resuts had been adjusted for prior attainment at Key Stage 3, the schoo added more vaue than any other schoo in the LEA. Dixons City Technoogy Coege In Dixons, form tutors aso pay a vita roe in monitoring pupis performance. On a practica eve, tutors, subject teachers, heads of year and heads of department work together, but the tutor co-ordinates a number of activities that ensure that the inkages work in the best interests of the pupi. A Year 8 tutor, for exampe, is responsibe for the foowing: form tutor/pupi interviews which occur twice per year in Key Stage 3 and three times in Key Stage 4 in order to discuss progress and targets a form tutor surgery on Tuesdays after schoo, at which parents reguary drop in to discuss progress and concerns progress grades/causes for concern, which are discussed at a weeky form tutors meeting (for SEN pupis there is a weeky meeting between the head of the Individua Needs department and heads of year) monitoring the progress of pupis who are put on daiy or weeky report at various eves of seriousness monitoring pupi panners which are used for pupi/teacher/parent comments and incude a section for current targets
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