At The Oaks, we have a multi-faceted approach towards assessment. This is because one single form of assessment may not give a full picture of the pupils’ needs. By using a combination of assessments, we are able to cross reference data to establish a secure understanding of attainment, progress and what is required for the pupils next steps in learning.
We use a range of assessment methods to assess the progress that our pupils make during their time at our school, depending on the age and needs of our pupils. This includes progress towards curricular objectives, as well as progress towards EHCP outcomes. These are updated in line with ongoing observation and assessments made by staff. Assessment is both formative and summative.
Formative assessment is central to effective teaching and learning. This involves teachers, LSAs, SAs and pupils. We continually assess our pupils’ progress towards lesson objectives to help us to inform future planning. Retrieval opportunities are planned into lessons to check memory and recall. The marking thumb assesses pupil engagement towards learning outcomes and level of support.
Summative assessment is used to measure progress within the curriculum as well as EHCP targets and accreditation. Both types of assessment are used to identify pupils for intervention.
Pupils are baselined on entry into the school. Progress of class and individual groups are discussed by class teachers, assessment co-ordinators and the senior leadership team to support the school to make informed decisions in regard to EHCP outcomes, short and long term planning within the classroom, additional interventions and delivery of Key Stage 4 option choices. Individual outcomes and targets are set and reviewed during EHCP Meetings. My Plan targets are shared with the pupils and sent home twice a year.
Subject Knowledge Assessments
All teachers assess for pupil understanding and retention of knowledge across the curriculum. At the end of a block or unit of work, pupils are assessed against the curricular objectives for that unit and the information is recorded. Staff have a record of pupil understanding, if they have mastered a skill or knowledge, or if they have required support. Where support was needed, staff will revisit the knowledge or skills to enable the pupil to consolidate that learning. In some instances, it may be decided that a block of intervention should be put in place for particular individuals.
Where significant gaps in knowledge and learning have been identified, then staff would consider amending their curriculum planning to address this. It may be decided that this is a better course of action where there are a number of students affected.
Progression Assessment Program
We use an assessment programme called Progression to assess the progress made by the pupils in the national curriculum subject areas. The program caters for all pupils’ subject areas in year 7 to year 11. All pupils are baselined in all subject areas on entry usually during the autumn term. The programme allows us to track the progress of pupils who follow the different curriculum pathways. This programme is updated once per year before the Annual Review meeting.
Evidence for Learning
We use Evidence for Learning in identified classes to record curriculum experiences and measure progress towards EHCP outcomes. This enables us to assess against any curriculum framework including any of the school’s custom-built frameworks. Teachers in Discrete ASC, PMLD and identified static SLD classes use this APP to evidence, assess and track progress against individual targets relating to the pupils’ EHCP targets. The APP automatically links evidence, achievements, outcomes and judgements. Teachers can use this programme to record the pupils’ work, achievements and progress, as well as using it as an assessment tool. The APP captures pupils’ experiences and development of skills and knowledge. We can use a variety of assessment descriptors from the Progression assessment, SCERTS, ASDAN and the National Curriculum to highlight pupil achievement.
The Engagement Model is an assessment tool that helps schools in supporting pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties, who are working below the level of the national curriculum and who are not engaged in subject-specific study. This model looks specifically at how pupils engage with their learning. It can measure types and times of engagement and can show pupil progress over time, particularly for those who do not move through linear levels. There are 5 different areas: exploration, realisation, anticipation, persistence and initiation. These areas are not hierarchical and there is no expectation that a child will make progress in all five areas.
Its role is to better assess
- How effective the learning provision is being used to engage pupils
- How effectively are pupils engaging in their EHCP targets.
Here at The Oaks, The Engagement Model is made up of 3 parts.
- The first is The Engagement Profile which indicates how a pupil presents when they are engaged with learning. It can also identify disengagement. This is then used to plan quality learning experiences for our pupils. The pupils’ change in engagement is also recorded here.
- The second is the Engagement Tool. This is how we monitor the engagement of pupils in their lessons and how we use and record it. Examples of the pupils’ curriculum and EHCP outcomes are uploaded onto Evidence for Learning. This can then be tagged against 1 or more of the 5 areas. Photographs and videos can be used to provide detail on the impact of the activity on the learners. This helps us make sense of the engagement and responses of our pupils and then use to plan meaningful learning experiences.
- The third is the curriculum. This should give the pupils the skills and knowledge needed to help them become engaged and active citizens. Examples of pupils’ learning in a wide range of activities/experiences which match the SOL are uploaded onto EFL. These are not just linked to EHCP outcomes or accreditation. Where an EHCP target is met or addressed in this session it can be tagged to The Engagement Model. As this is recorded onto EFL we can make sure that we add to a pupil’s learning rather than just start again.