Assessment at Watergate School
We aim to give each pupil the richest and most appropriate education. It is essential that each pupil is assessed accurately and to know exactly where they are in their learning at any given time. This enables us to develop targeted strategies and learning programmes so they can achieve the best outcomes possible
We have revised our assessment systems in order to be able to demonstrate individual, ipsative progress for each pupil – that is, to record and measure the progress each child has made against their own starting point, focused on the individual priority areas of development for them.
This enables us to undertake highly individual and pupil centred assessment which is meaningful to each child, as it reflects the priority learning outcomes for each pupil.
Our children learn very differently to their neurotypical peers. The acquisition of one skill does not necessarily lead automatically to the development of the next. A child with severe learning difficulties often needs many, many opportunities to learn a skill and to do this in a variety of settings. It may take longer to learn to carry out a skill fluently and independently, to be able to remember it from one day to the next (maintenance) and to know that doing it in one setting is the same as doing it in another (generalisation). This is called lateral learning.
‘As it is neither possible nor desirable to set national expectations for what these pupils should have learned at a particular age or by the end of a key stage, the members of the Rochford Review do not believe it is appropriate to apply a framework to statutory assessment that evaluates their attainment in that way. It would be neither fair to the child, nor to the school.’
(Rochford Review, 2016, p20)
Because each of our pupils is unique and their needs are significantly different to those of their peers, so too is their learning profile and their developmental pathway. We therefore question the value of comparing one child’s learning to that of their peers. We do not use any system of measurement of progress to compare any one learner with other learners. The data we collect is only used to see the progress of the individual being shown within each learning intention. This information can only be understood in the context of the learner and their learning intention – which is different to that of any other child
‘As assessment for pupils with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties should be suitable for each pupil’s individual needs, the review does not feel that it would be appropriate to prescribe any particular method for assessing them.’ (Rochford Review 2016, P6).
Watergate’s assessment system utilises a range of assessment tools, as appropriate to each child. We call this our Basket of Assessment. The table below provides examples of assessment tools that may typically be utilised, although this is not an exhaustive list:
The importance of Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
IEPs play a vital part in our assessment system as they are at the heart of teaching and learning on a daily basis.
IEP objectives are informed by EHCP outcomes and EHCP ‘Steps Towards’, making them: entirely child centred; focused on each child’s priority areas for development; based on individual starting points and; drawing from the expertise of parents/carers and every professional involved with the child.
With this thorough knowledge and understanding of each pupil, we can ensure that appropriate IEP objectives are set and that teachers are able to collect robust evidence to build a narrative of progress and accurately judge the progress made by each learner.
Our core belief is: that if the input, which very much includes the quality of teaching, to each pupil’s learning is the very best it can be, then the progress made by that child will be the very best that the learner could have made.
We would therefore expect, given the best possible input, that pupils will achieve their IEP objectives, indicating that they are making the best possible progress for them. This therefore highlights the importance of our robust teaching and learning monitoring cycle, which quality assures: the content of planning; the setting and assessment of appropriate learning objectives; the delivery of learning; the learning environment and moderates evidence of learning.
Where an objective is not achieved, teachers, the leadership team, parents/carers and other professionals work together to find out why this may have been and if there are any further interventions which may be required in order to ensure that the pupil is given the best possible opportunity to achieve that objective and make good progress. Should the objective no longer be felt to be appropriate, reasons for this are discussed and validated and the learning outcome is adjusted.
In order to ensure that we undertake robust and structured reviews of progress towards IEP objectives, we use the MAPP Assessment of Lateral Progress tool.
MAPP = Mapping and Assessing Personal Progress
MAPP is a tool to facilitate the assessment and recording of progress in relation to personal learning intentions. It supports staff to assess each IEP objective against four aspects of skill: independence, fluency, maintenance and generalisation.
By using MAPP’s Assessment of Lateral Progress tool we can:
- Ensure a robust and structured baseline of pupil progress toward IEP targets at the start of each term
- Ensure a robust and structured review of progress toward IEP targets
- Ensure accurate and consistent judgements of progress towards and achievement of IEP targets.
Assessment framework – what happens when?
Reporting to parents and carers
In addition to ongoing contact and information sharing between home and school, there are a range of ways in which a child’s progress is reported to parents and carers, these include both the provision of progress reports and information and face-to-face meetings.
- IEPs (termly)
- Parent and Carer Evening (termly)
- MOVE assessment (yearly in line with EHCP reviews and termly via IEPs)
- MOVE Achievement Awards and presentation ceremony (end of year)
- EHCP Annual Review (yearly)
- Curriculum Report (end of year)
- Celebration of Learning Awards (throughout the year)
- Additional meetings (as required)