How assessment at Ark Acton works
The aim of assessment at Ark Acton Academy
At Ark Acton Academy our approach to assessment enables staff to gather data and make evidence- led decisions to refine their instruction and enable students to progress. We need to know what students know and can do, in order to move them forward. The goal is then to improve the learner and their capacity for future work, not just improving the current piece of work or correcting a mistake in their book.
We believe that regular and spaced, low-stakes assessment is more beneficial in embedding learning than one-off high stakes assessments. Assessments are diagnostic, they allow teachers to ascertain pupil’s understanding and increase the validity of teacher judgements about student knowledge.
Short diagnostic assessments have varying frequency depending on the weighting of the subject in our curriculum. Subjects with 3-5 lessons a week will quiz on a weekly basis, subjects with 1-2 lessons a week will quiz every three lessons.
The importance of assessment
Better studying = less studying!
We know that those who take regular low stakes tests do better than those who study more. The harder the test, the greater the benefit to memory. Even if you don’t get the answer right, you still see a benefit as long as you get corrective feedback before the next test.
Frequent low stakes testing is beneficial because:
- Testing interrupts forgetting
- Easy to interleave topics
- Allows for testing to be cumulative
- AFL- good proxy for learning
- Low risk, culture of error
- Gains increase with frequency
Types of assessment at Ark Acton Academy
All reteach, redrafting, corrections on mastery quizzes, do now’s, response to sample review or response to whole class feedback will be done in green pen by students to indicate this has taken place.
How can the data gathered be used?
- To inform staff training needs and curriculum design: Your department meets at the beginning of the year and analyses the assessments from the July exams. Although overall students achieved well, there was a particular area they underachieved in. The HOD decides to make this area the focus on professional development activities over the term. They also ensure it is given more curriculum time and moved earlier on in the year to enable more retrieval practice to be embedded.
- To amend SOW: When the department meet to discuss their ETAL and look at the available assessment data, they notice trends within the attainment. They identify particular areas where the planning and delivery can be strengthened for the following year and add this into their ETAL and amend their MTP’s.
- To identify underperformance: During the half termly formative assessment, the department check student progress, any student scoring below a threshold to make adequate progress is invited to attend additional instruction.
- To inform post-test re-teaching: After a mastery quiz or half termly assessment, time built into the MTP to reteach is used to address the class’s understanding
- To inform planning: Students complete an exit ticket, mastery quiz or extended performance element for sample review at the end of the lesson, the teacher reviews them all and adapts the next lesson as necessary. Moderation of these will be the focus of the weekly co-planning slot.
- Establishing high success rates: Using cold call, mini whiteboards or other questioning techniques to check understanding from a high proportion of students before moving on or re-teaching if necessary.
- To adapt teaching in real time: From questioning, the teacher realises there is a misconception within the class. They use this data to re-explain/re-teach a topic and then question again to ensure there is no longer a misconception.