Assessment in the Secondary School
We use the principles of "Assessment For Learning" to make formative assessments and "Assessment OF Learning" to make summative assessments (judging learners’ achievement against National Curriculum levels or those specified by the Examination Boards).
Assessment FOR Learning - also known as formative assessment
Recent research shows that assessment helps to raise standards by promoting effective learning. However, it must be used correctly and the teachers at Doha British School take pride in doing just that. Increasing the numberof tests that your children have to take will not improve their learning by itself. Rather, assessment for learning involves using assessment in the classroom to raise achievement. It is based on the idea that learners will improve most if they understand the aim of their learning, where they are in relation to this aim and know how they can achieve the aim (or close the gap).
Effective assessment for learning happens all the time in the classroom. It involves:
- sharing learning goals with learners;
- helping learners to know and recognise the standards to aim for (targets);
- providing feedback that helps learners to identify how to improve;
- believing that every learner can improve in comparison with previous achievements;
- both the teacher and learner reviewing and reflecting on performance and progress;
- learners learning self-assessment techniques to discover areas they need to improve;
- recognising that both motivation and self-esteem, crucial for effective learning and progress, can be increased by effective assessment techniques.
These are not only essential features of day-to-day learning in the classroom, they are also key ingredients of successful lifelong learning.
Assessment OF Learning - also known as summative assessment
At the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6, the last year of primary school) and 3 (Year 9) teachers will make an assessment to determine which National Curriculum Level descriptor ‘best fits’ the learner’s achievement. Teachers will arrive at this level by using a combination of assessments and work that the learner has produced throughout the year.
At the end of Key Stage 2 learners can achieve Levels 3-5 and at Key Stage 3 they can achieve Levels 4-8. An appropriate level is considered to be level 4 at Key Stage 2 and level 5 at Key Stage 3. We can use this information to enable us to predict potential outcomes at the end of the next Key Stage.
In Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11) teachers assess learners’ work to predict how well they might do in IGCSE exams. The final measure of their attainment in Key Stage 4 is their actual IGCSE results, published after they finish Year 11.
In Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13, also known as the Sixth Form) teachers assess learners’ work to predict how well they might do in the International Baccalaureate (IB), or in the alternative AS Levels. Teachers in each subject will also assess their Internal Assessment which will form part of their overall grade. The final measure of their attainment in Key Stage 5 is their actual IB results or AS Level results, published after they finish Year 13 (IB) or Year 12 (AS Levels).
Tracking and Reporting
Monitoring and tracking pupils’ progress is fundamental to raising standards. Each pupil is set a challenging target for the end of the Key Stage based on the predictions from the internal and external attainment data. The pupils’ progress is then monitored and tracked across time and across subjects using both ‘Assessment for Learning’ and ‘Assessment of Learning’ approaches. This data allows us to monitor whether pupils are ‘on target’, ‘ above target’ or ‘below target’. This allows us to identify underperformance and make any necessary intervention.
Our school reports to parents are designed to inform parents about pupil progress and to help raise pupil attainments. We produce reports three times during each academic year that indicate the end of Key Stage Target and a rating as to whether the pupils is making the appropriate progress. Our assessment, recording and tracking and reporting procedures ensure that effort and independent learning are also acknowledged to ensure that teachers, parents and management are focused on praising effort and progress rather than just attainment.
Academic review is a parents’ evening, where the parents meet with the form tutor rather than the subject teachers. It is designed to strengthen the relationship between school and home and promote the role of the form tutor. It is easier for the parents to gain an holistic view of their child’s progress as traditional parents’ evenings often mean that many teachers cannot be visited in the time allowed.
These take place twice a year for Key Stage 3 and once for Year 10. Year 10 will also have a subject based parents’ evening.
Parents can still meet with their child’s subject teacher and the form tutor should arrange this if it is requested by either the child’s parent or subject teacher.
Years 11, 12 and 13 have two traditional parents evening per year.