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Assessment Approaches

Assessment Approaches


Assessment is the engine which drives student learning.

John Cowan


At The Pines, assessment is an integral part of our approach to Teaching and Learning. Effective assessment enables teachers to plan future learning to better meet the needs of pupils which in turn supports children in making maximum progress in their learning. Assessment takes many forms and is the responsibility of all staff.



At The Pines, we aim to:

• enable our children to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do through appropriate learning tasks

• ensure children recognise the standards to aim for and understand what they need to do in order to reach this standard

• provide opportunities for all children to excel by ensuring that ‘ceilings’ are not placed on learning and progress

• use fluid groupings of children based on current understanding and needs 

• allow teachers to plan learning tasks that accurately reflect the needs of each child

• provide regular information for parents that enables them to understand the performance of their child and how they can support their learning

• provide the Senior Leadership Team and Governors with relevant assessment information that contributes to judgements made about the effectiveness of Teaching & Learning



Assessment generally takes one of three forms:

Formative Assessment - ongoing assessment carried out by teachers, often 'in the moment' as a result of observations of children, discussions and the work produced by children, that is used to influence the course of a lesson or future planning

Diagnostic Assessment - assessment tools that can provide specific evidence regarding the understanding of an individual, group or class especially at the start of a new unit of learning or for children experiencing difficulties in their learning

Summative Assessment - assessments (often using published tests) designed to measure a child's understanding and knowledge over a longer period of time and that inform Teacher Assessment data


At The Pines, teachers are required to make Teacher Assessment judgements regarding the attainment of children in their class each term. These judgements centre around Reading, Writing and Maths and are based on how each child is performing in relation to Age Related Expectations for that point during each academic year. These Teacher Assessments are recorded on Insight which is the online tool used by the school to store and analyse assessment data. In EYFS, children are assessed according to their progress towards the Specific and Prime areas of learning.


From the Spring term of Year 1 onwards, PiXL assessments are used in Reading, Writing and Maths to inform Teacher Assessments. Other published assessments are used to inform staff understanding of children's abilities in specific subjects, especially where a child has Special Educational Needs, such as the Salford Reading test. In phonics, children are assessed roughly every 6 weeks using the assessments produced as part of the Little Wandle Phonics Scheme from Reception to Year 2. 


Foundation Subjects

Assessment approaches are currently being developed for the Foundation Subjects to enable teachers to assess children's knowledge and skills in these curriculum areas. These approaches vary according to the subject and, for many curriculum areas, a variety of 'low stakes' assessment opportunities are built into lessons to ensure teachers have an on-going knowledge of children's knowledge and understanding.


We have begun using the Pupil Book Study approach (developed by Alex Bedford) to support both curriculum monitoring and assessment in Foundation Subjects. This approach is based on teachers talking to children about their learning in a specific and planned way, seeking to ensure that children's learning opportunities are aligned with our curriculum intent and to gauge how well children are retaining what they have been taught, internalising new knowledge, vocabulary and skills and making links between different areas of learning. Initially, the Pupil Book Study approach has been introduced for History, Geography and Science and is now being adapted to suit more creative subjects such as Art and Music.


Feedback and Marking

Children are given feedback on their learning. Much of this feedback is verbal and is 'in the moment' within a lesson. At times, written feedback will also be provided by adults. Children are taught how to evaluate their own learning and that of their peers and all children are actively encouraged to be involved in discussions regarding their learning and how to improve.


Further details can be found in the Marking and Feedback Policy:


Statutory Assessments

Children at The Pines, as in all state funded primary schools, complete all statutory national assessments. These include the Reception Baseline Assessment and assessment against Early Learning Goals, Year 1 Phonics Screening check and Year 6 SATs. Our Year 4 children also complete the Multiplication Tables Check. The results of these assessments are used internally to track progress and attainment and are also included within local and national league tables to allow comparisons to be made with other schools. Please note that children are no longer required to take SATs tests at the end of Year 2.



Teachers at The Pines moderate children's work within year groups, across year  groups and key stages within the school and with teachers in other local schools.  These processes enable teachers to benefit from the expertise of others and ensures that the assessments made by the school are as accurate as possible.


Pupil Progress Meetings 

At least termly, class teachers meet with members of the Senior Leadership Team to review the progress and  attainment of children in their class as part of Pupil Progress Meetings. Strategies for supporting teaching and learning and raising attainment are discussed and any pupils struggling to make appropriate progress are identified. Pupil Progress Meetings are also used to set and review targets for pupil attainment.


At The Pines, our approach to assessment is focused on providing useful information to teachers enabling them to fully support children to make progress in their learning. Assessment also helps children to understand their own abilities and take ownership of how they can improve. The purpose of completing assessments is to inform future teaching and learning and to enable gaps in learning or misconceptions to be addressed. 


It is the role of the Assessment Lead and Senior Leadership Team to ensure that assessment information is recorded accurately and used effectively so that actions identified are followed through to benefit children's learning. The Governing Body is also responsible for holding the school to account regarding assessment data, to challenge trends and analyses and to ensure the school is addressing any areas of weakness.  


Our full Assessment Policy can be found here: