Geashill National School
This policy was reviewed and updated at a staff meeting in September 2010.
At Geashill National School, our aim is to have high standards of teaching and learning, and to enable each child to attain the highest level of his/her ability at every stage. We consider assessment to be an integral part of teaching and learning. Assessment enables teachers to know at what level to pitch work, and how to move forward in teaching. It allows parents and children to have feedback on how well a child is doing in learning, and to understand what they can improve upon, and how they can do this.
This policy sets out to formalise our existing practice within this school, and is our response to the Department of Education's publication on assessment entitled “, Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum (2007).
Our aims in introducing this policy are:
- To benefit pupil learning
- To monitor learning processes
- To generate base-line data that can be used to monitor achievement over time
- To involve parents and pupils in identifying and managing learning strengths or difficulties
- To assist teachers' long and short term planning
- To co-ordinate assessment procedures on a whole school basis
Forms of Assessment
Assessment can be described in the following terms:
Formative: Helping the child in the process of learning.
Evaluative: Helping the teacher to evaluate the learning opportunities provided. We can carefully plan activities taking into account the needs of the child so that their skills, knowledge and understanding are fully developed. Children will also be involved in assessing their own work.
Summative: Providing information for reports and school records. We can then write a summary report based on evidence of what a child knows, understands and can do.
Informative:This provides information for parents and for the child's next teacher. We can then communicate to parents and teachers how the child is performing.
Each form of assessment will enable teachers
- To inform planning for and coverage of all areas of the curriculum
- To gather and interpret data at individual, class and whole-school level, and in relation to class and national norms
- To identify the particular learning needs of pupils or groups of pupils including the exceptionally able.
- To contribute to the school's strategy for prevention of learning difficulties
- To monitor pupil progress and attainment
- To enable teachers to modify their programmes in order to ensure that the particular learning needs of individual pupils/groups are being addressed
- To compile records of individual pupils' progress and attainment
- To facilitate communication between parents and teachers about pupils' development, progress and learning needs
- To facilitate the involvement of pupils in assessment of their own work
- To enable teachers to monitor their own approaches and methodologies.
Techniques for Assessment
- Focused Observations - observing a child or a group of children at an activity.
- Random Observations - monitoring what is happening i.e. works better in a group, alone, tires easily, responds to visual promptings etc.
- Structured Observations - observing one particular child each day at set intervals.
- Discussion, conferencing - talking to and questioning the children about their work, setting targets for future work.
- Presentations - evaluating with the child the outcome or end product - writing, drawing, diagram, model charts etc.
- Monitoring spelling and table tests.
- Teacher designed tests
- Portfolios of work.
- Staged assessments at the end of blocks of work, particularly in Mathematics.
- Mental Maths tests
- Behaviour and attendance monitored where necessary
Any child deemed immature or unable to cope with the Junior Infant programme is screened using the B.I.A.P (Belfield Infant Assessment Programme). See early risk indicators.
The middle Infants Screening Test (MIST) is administered by the Learning Support Teacher to Senior Infants in the final term of Senior Infants. If children score below our expectations for them, failure on 4/5sub tests, we then invite their parents or guardians to work with the Learning Support Teacher and with their child at home in the Forward Together programme. The teacher sees parents in a group or individually and shows them how to help their child.
Within the school, the following standardised tests are administered to all classes from 1st to 6th:
- Class teachers administer these tests to their own classes during the given period (indicated above), adhering strictly to the conditions outlined in the testing manuals.
- Exemption from standardised testing is considered when deemed necessary (c.f. Circular 0138/2006).
- Raw Score, Standard Score, Percentile Rank, STEN and Reading Age are recorded manually, percentile and STEN are recorded electronically.
- Principal, S.E.N and staff are involved in the analysis of standardised test results for an individual pupil, class and whole school level.
- First priority for learning support is given to children with a percentile of ten or below (c.f. Learning Support Policy). Support is also offered to Senior Infants under Early Intervention Programme.
- Information gathered from the analysis of results informs long term and short term plans, I.E.P.'s and I.L.P.'s. Standard form ILP.
- Results are communicated to parents at annual parent-teacher meetings. This will be in written form from the school year 2010/2011.
- Percentile Rank, STEN and reading age interpretation guidelines are used to communicate results to parents.
- The NRIT is administered to 1st class and 6th class every year by our S.E.N. teacher. Results are recorded together with STEN and percentile scores from standardised tests.
Diagnostic Testing (c.f. Learning support Policy, pg 8)
After consultation with the class teacher and with the consent of parents, the Learning Support Teacher will administer initial diagnostic assessment. For a complete list of tests which are available in our school, please see our Learning Support Policy.
The results of the diagnostic assessment are recorded in the Individual Learning Profile for each pupil. The profile will also include:
- Previous test results
- Relevant information from class teachers, parents and other professionals
- Identification of the pupils particular needs.
Procedures for Further Assessment:
After diagnostic assessment and a block of learning support, each child's progress will be reviewed. Dept guidelines, Continuum of Support are followed. If there are serious concerns expressed by the parents, support teacher and class teacher, further psychological assessment will be explored. The Principal/Learning Support Teacher will seek the advice of the NEPS psychologist and discuss the test results and concerns about the pupil. Based on the advice received, the application for a full assessment, if required, will be completed by the Learning Support Teacher and class teacher.
Recording Results of Assessment:
- The results of each child's Sigma-T and Micra-T are recorded both manually and electronically. This allows us to build up on Individual Pupil's Profile, a class profile and a whole school profile. These results are kept in the school office and in teacher's filing cabinet.
- At the end of each academic year and at the beginning of each academic year each teacher will, where possible, be given the opportunity to have a meeting with the previous class teacher who will brief him/her on the strengths and weaknesses of each pupil, and confirm the content of the curriculum covered in the previous year. Teachers are advised to ensure that their comments are based on objective evidence.
- Children's records are held in the school for a period of twenty years.
This policy will be successful when:
- Procedures run smoothly and efficiently because there is clarity about what is expected and who is responsible for different aspects.
- The transfer of information from class teacher to class teacher happens efficiently at the beginning/end of school year.
Roles and Responsibilities
- While assessment is the responsibility of all teachers, the Principal and the Learning Support Teacher will have responsibility for the implementation of this policy.
Ratification & Communication
This policy was ratified by the Board of Management in October 2010. It will be reviewed in the school year 2012/2013.