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 

  
Hourly   

 

Hinge point questions/MCQ/Whiteboards/questioning- designed to ensure a high success rate is achieved before moving on. Misconceptions can be addressed within the lesson as they occur.
Daily   

 

Do now’s. Each lesson starts with a five-question recap. This can pick up errors from previous lessons and should interleave in challenging material. Teachers can use the do now’s to revisit errors and explore them as a class when they are corrected.   

Circulating with purpose - teacher circulates with pen in hand, checking students' understanding whilst students are working.

Weekly Weekly diagnostic- at the discretion of the HOD, dependent on the subject discipline.   

 

Intentional monitoring- planned use of feedback codes during extended practice and subsequent cold-call.

AND

Mastery quizzes- Quizzes that test core knowledge.

AND/ OR

Exit tickets- Completed weekly, a summary of the weeks learning that teachers will use to inform their planning.

OR

Sample review- after an extended piece of work teachers will take in a selection of books for the class to look for common misconceptions, errors and successes and will feed this back to students using a whole class feedback sheet or a re-teach in class.

AND

Whole class feedback sheets- taking in a set of class books, reading them through, noting down key misconceptions, areas for re-teach, areas/students to praise and then tasks to move the student on (improve the student not the work).

 

Half termly and/or termly   

 

Mastery quiz or Network Diagnostic Assessment   

‘Performance element’- In most subjects this will be a piece of extended writing but this will vary across subjects such as Art or PE. This will be reviewed by the teacher and whole class feedback given. This will be based on the content studied in that half term/ term.

 

Bi-annually, December and July   

 

Extended quiz designed to test key knowledge and identify misconceptions.   

‘Performance element’- In most subjects this will be a piece of extended writing, but this will vary across subjects such as Art or PE. This will be reviewed by the teacher and whole class feedback given. This will be based on the year’s learning up to this point.

Data from these two forms of assessment will be used to report to parents the % of the taught content that students have mastered and whether they are on track to achieve their target.

 

What does this look like in student books?

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? 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.