At the start of each school year teachers set targets for each child in their class for maths, reading and writing. Teachers then make assessments on how well a child is doing to reach their targets and they record this six times a year. (See Assessing Children’s Progress.) Senior leaders regularly track children’s progress and discuss with class teachers how to help children who might be falling behind.
How do teachers make assessments?
Teachers make these regular assessments in a variety of ways. These include:
- Looking at work that has been produced in class
- Listening to comments made during discussions
- Talking to children about their work
- Speaking to other adults who work with the children
- Asking children to evaluate their own work or each other’s work
- Completing assessment test or tasks
As well as informing the teacher about progress that has been made, assessment also informs teachers of gaps in children’s learning.
Day to Day Assessment
As well as regular assessments described above, teachers make day to day assessments of children. In fact, teachers are making assessments all the time. For example a teacher might make an assessment at the start of a lesson to check what children already know, they can then adjust the planned lesson appropriately. Teachers will continue to do this throughout the lesson.
Once a task has been completed (particularly with older children) there might be a concrete outcome (writing, drawing, project etc.) This is then assessed. Work is assessed to find out how well the child has progressed according to the learning objective for the lesson. (Where appropriate children record this at the top of their work.) Often teachers highlight some of a child’s successes. This helps the child to understand what they have done well. At the end of the piece of work the teacher will usually write a comment (with younger children the teacher might talk to the child rather than write a comment.) The comment will help the child to take the next step in their learning by:
- Indicating something the child can do better in the next piece of work. This is often called a next step or a wish.
- Showing a worked example and then setting an extra task.
- Asking the child to improve a small element of their work (perhaps one sentence.)
- Explaining something that has been misunderstood.
- Inviting the child to speak to an adult.
Teachers use assessment (both in class assessment and assessment of tasks) to plan appropriate lessons for children.