Formative Assessment happens continually throughout learning at West Lodge. It gives pupils and teachers a chance to improve as the lesson goes on. It is different to assessments in the past, which may have only happened at the end of a topic or piece of work, when it is too late to change anything.
Formative Assessment is also known as Assessment for Learning. Students understand exactly what they are to learn, what is expected of them, and are given feedback (oral or written) and advice on what they have done well and how they can improve their work as they do it.
Summative types of assessments are still important and do take place regularly, but here at West Lodge, we feel it is important for students to be active in their own learning because this raises the standard of work.
Evidence has shown that learners learn best when they understand clearly what they are trying to learn (the learning objective) and what is expected of them (the success criteria). Success criteria to achieve the learning objective is shared and agreed with the children at West Lodge in most academic lessons. As children move up the school, they will develop the ability to construct their own success criteria from the shared learning objective. Teachers will mark in response to the success criteria, which also happens for peer assessment and self-assessment. The success criteria is often personalised and differentiated using the subheadings All, Most and Some. Furthermore, children receive this feedback using a consistent marking system:
- Purple for praise – Celebrating what your child has done well in response to the success criteria.
- Green for growth – Indicating where your child could improve or develop in response to the success criteria.
Teachers provide sufficient amount of time for the children to respond to their feedback in subsequent lessons. In Key Stage 2, black pens are used by the children to edit and craft their work, particularly in Creative Writing.
Throughout lessons, children are often given opportunities to talk about their learning using talk partners. This allows short discussions to take place to explore ideas and share knowledge. Teachers are encouraged to ask the right kind of questions (open questions), which encourage children to think rather than respond with yes or no.
At the end of lessons or sometimes throughout, children often self-assess or peer assess against the success criteria providing children with ownership of their own learning. In EYFS and Key Stage One, children indicate how well they understand a task using a traffic light system, whereas in Key Stage Two children often evaluate against checklists of the success criteria. This is used to show how well a child thinks they have completed a task and provides the teacher with more information regarding their understanding when assessing them.
Why we promote Assessment for Learning?
- Assessment for Learning will allow your children to become more reflective learners – they will have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses academically.
- Green and Purple pens are extremely visual. Children will instantly recognise their strengths and areas for improvement. Following a consistent system, children will instantly recognise strengths and areas of development from an early age.
- Assessment for Learning will empower your children to take control of their learning by working against agreed success criteria.
- Assessment for Learning allows teachers to plan more effectively as it will highlight trends and patterns when evaluating children’s ability to demonstrate the agreed success criteria.
- Assessment for Learning raises standards, which we believe to already be very high at West Lodge.