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Gullane Primary School

Assessment within the new Scottish Curriculum. What does it ‘look and sound’ like here in Gullane Primary School? September 2010

September 30th 2010


We hope this short leaflet may be of interest to parents and endeavours to set out where schools are with assessment. The following is an Extract from Building the Curriculum 5(BTC5). This document was published at the end of 2009. Schools are working with the content of this document to ensure their planning for assessment matches expectations. The documents entitled ‘Building the Curriculum’ are published by the Scottish Government; numbers 3,4&5 have been published so far each one dealing with a different focus. These documents may be found on the internet if you are interested. “Assessment should be an integral part of day-to-day learning and teaching, carefully planned at the same time as programmes and experiences, so that it reflects the learning, provides an emerging picture of progress and achievement in skills for all learners, and enables both staff and learners to play a full part in gathering and evaluating evidence and planning next steps in learning.” (BTC5) “In order to gather good quality evidence of learners’ progress through relevant experiences, staff will plan to use a range of approaches that reflect the breadth, challenge and application of learning and the wide range of skills being developed. The active involvement of children and young people in assessment is essential to ensure they have a well-developed sense of ownership of their learning and help one another.” (BTC5) “Curriculum for Excellence focuses on a broader range of knowledge and understanding, skills, attributes and capabilities that children and young people develop in a range of contexts. This means that assessment in Curriculum for Excellence will involve a broad range of approaches that allow children and young people to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do. Assessment will support learning and promote learner engagement resulting in greater breadth and depth in learning, including a greater focus on the secure development of knowledge, understanding and skills. To ensure children and young people are making progress across all aspects of planned learning, assessment will place a greater emphasis on literacy and numeracy across the curriculum, health and well-being, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and higher order skills, including creativity”. (BTC5) All schools are on a similar path in managing this new curriculum and some schools may have made more or less progress than we have here at Gullane. The key is that we keep in touch with our colleagues in other cluster schools and with other clusters in this authority. Assessment in Gullane. After many years of using and understanding the language of 5-14 levels many parents will want information on how their child is managing in school. Many ask ‘How is my child doing in the class?’ and really what they want to know is ‘How are they in relation to everyone else in the class?’ We do not have a set of ‘tests’ that will say that a child is at whatever level as before in 514. Learning and Teaching Scotland are currently developing a set of National Assessment Resources(NARS) for staff to access. These NARS are not ‘tests’ but a range of materials September 30th 2010


that have been developed to support class teacher assessment. This bank will become available to class teachers over the session and will be added to in subsequent sessions. In line with CfE ethos, at Gullane we are developing our assessment processes in keeping with the philosophies of Building the Curriculum 4 and 5. We have an interim school policy to support staff as we move towards a more child centered form of assessment and work through ways to ensure we record formative assessment for learning and quality assessment of learning. We recognise the need for a range of assessment evidence including evidence of progression in skills as well as knowledge and understanding. We recognise there is need for moderation and sharing of assessment standards across clusters and authorities. We understand the importance of sharing the assessment processes with the children we teach so they can see where they are with any piece of learning and know what they need to do to achieve the next step in their learning. The expectations about progression through curriculum levels for nursery and primary school age pupils are shown below. (As described by the Scottish Government)   

Early Level describes the experiences and outcomes for pupils in pre school and Primary 1 First level describes the experiences and outcomes for pupils in Primary 2-4 Second Level describes the experiences and outcomes for pupils in Primary 5-7

Pupils will be described as either - developing, consolidating or secure within a level. It may be that some pupils will have the same description for most of their school careers in primary. This is fine. This will also be the language used in the report at the end of session and we will be able to give a fuller picture of this later in the session. The new curriculum focuses on developing teaching and learning where pupils have a range of experiences to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills as well as a depth and breadth of experiences. In Gullane Primary staff keep a range of assessment information, comments and notes. We have an interim policy on assessment as we know that there will be changes and developments to come. E.g. Each class teacher will store between 4 and 5 pieces of writing across a session. At least 2 of these pieces of writing would focus on imaginative writing- story and/or poem- and the other pieces would focus on functional writing such as posters/leaflets/letters and such like. We call these pieces ‘tracked’ pieces as the class teacher will have marked them with a focus on expected content/outcomes for age/stage/ability. This has been running for some years now. Staff monitor pupils’ progress in reading, numeracy and mathematical skill, health & well being, expressive arts, science, technologies, RME and social subjects. The early years’ pupils have a different focus and expectation to say a P6 pupil. The assessment procedures and information gathering is age/stage appropriate. September 30th 2010


Many forms of assessment recording are acceptable/appropriate such as; photographs, video footage, drawings, discussions with a pupil or group of pupils, content of learning logs, dialogue between teacher and pupil, notes in jotters and such like. We also focus on life skills – this area is covered in a document entitled Building the Curriculum 4. We at Gullane have developed a set of key skills which we feel supports the development of these key skills in pupils from early years’ to upper stages. This may be appropriate for any age/stage depending on what was asked for and what was developed by the teachers/pupils

E.G.

Learning Outcome: Decision Making Key Attributes/Performance Criteria: □ seeing the need for a decision □ entering into the decision-making process □ reaching a decision □ looking at options, seeking advice, drawing conclusions □ seeking consensus □ being equipped to either compromise or to defend an opinion □ understanding the reasons for decisions and their consequences □ taking responsibility for decisions Other: _______________________________________________

We will still assess spelling – maybe not always with a weekly test, we will check and assess knowledge in maths where appropriate such as whether they have grasped the concept of place value or equivalent fractions or basic table facts (your help is greatly appreciated here!). Following a block of teaching in social studies focusing on the Victorians/Romans etc we will assess how pupils have learned and what they have learned using a variety of the methods described. When a block of science on say ‘Sound and Light’ has been covered we may ask the pupils to carry out an experiment and record their findings in line with an agreed format. We will maintain rigour and standards at all times.

Until we have more information on how a national assessment resource item will ‘work’ and how useful they will be we will continue to gather a range of quality assessment material on each pupil. As always, staff will continue to gather a range of evidence and be able to talk with you about your child and focus on what is relevant for your child at the time. M.R. Tremmel Head Teacher Gullane Primary September 2010

September 30th 2010

Leaflet On Assessment For Parents