Policy on Assessment

Policy on Assessment

This policy was revised following a W.S.E. in Feb 2010 with emphasis placed on Assessment for Learning. It was reviewed in March 2011 following examination by all teachers of their own methods of assessment, both formal and informal. In class Assessment folders were agreed upon for all teachers. A word bank of suitable vocabulary was agreed on to be used in written reports to parents. This was done in order to ensure uniformity of reporting throughout the school. This policy was revised again in December 2014 following from the Introduction of the Literacy/Numeracy Strategy in Jan 2012 and the considerable work in School Self Evaluation thereafter. The present policy was revised in September 2020 in response to the growing and changing staff profile and additional information and guidelines from CPD courses on Assessment.

The core of the policy is that all children should experience success at school. This policy strives to identify, at the earliest possible opportunity, children who may have learning difficulties. We then endeavour to put in place a whole school response to meet their needs. The aims and objectives of this policy are;
 To facilitate improved pupil learning.
 To create a procedure for monitoring achievement.
 To track learning processes which assist the long and short term planning of teachers.
 To co-ordinate assessment procedures on a whole school basis, involving parents and pupils, in managing strengths and weaknesses.
 To focus on Assessment for Learning to ensure all children feel a sense of achievement and play an active part in their own learning.

Policy Content
This policy is geared towards using assessment to inform planning and identify the needs of all pupils including the exceptionally gifted so that adequate strategies are put in place early enough to facilitate remediation. These strategies may include pupil self-assessment, pupil profiling, two way communication between parents and teachers, modification of teacher programmes and Individual Education Plans.

Informal Assessment
There is agreement as to the modes of informal assessment used in all classes and those are used at the discretion of the individual teacher.

They are as follows;
 Teacher observation – teachers base their questioning on content objectives in all subject areas.
 Teacher designed tests and tasks.
 Self-Assessed pieces of work ( in folder or completed through SEESAW)
 Teacher /pupil conversations (Guided Reading)
 Work samples, portfolios and projects.
Junior classes are free to put a variety of work samples in their portfolios.

Samples of work for School Support and School Support Plus pupils will be maintained by the SEN teachers and stored in the pupil’s file. This is used to monitor progression as he/she progresses through the school.
Records of teacher-designed tests are kept by the individual teachers in an assessment folder and communicated to parents at the Parent-Teacher meeting/end of year report. Friday tests (English and Irish Spellings and Math’s tests) are sent home every week to be signed. Each teacher has discretion as to the format, administration and frequency of in-class testing. The most common types of informal teacher designed testing in our school are Maths tests, spelling tests, revision tests and table quizzes. Teachers use results from Action Maths/ Planet Maths/Cracking Maths Assessments to inform their teaching in Maths. Class teachers liaise with Special Education teachers to supplement Strands in Maths in which individual children may be weak. The results of Maths assessments may be analysed per section for weaker children.There is also a greater emphasis on self-assessment which gives the child a chance to analyse their own work with a view to improving it.

Standardised Testing
The Drumcondra Primary Reading Test (DPRT) and Sigma T are the tests used throughout the school. All classes from 1st class upwards are tested. The tests are administered in June by the class teacher and 1st class are also tested in Sigma T in October. Tests are corrected by the SEN team. Standard and Percentile Ranking scores are recorded on Aladdin and are readily available to all teachers. The SET analyse the results for allocation of resources to pupils in September.

Analysis of Test Results
Assessment results are analysed at class level and at school level and are used to select pupils for extra support. Pupils at/below the 12th percentile may be selected for further diagnostic testing or support teaching. Results are also used to inform whole-school planning in literacy and numeracy in accordance with the National Strategy for Literacy/Numeracy 2012-2020. They are also used to identify the learning needs of exceptionally able pupils. The outcome of assessments is communicated to pupils, parents, other teachers and to school management. Pupils are involved in assessing their own work from time to time. A record of standardized scores is kept so that progress can be tracked from year to year.

I.Q. Testing
Pupils will be given an I.Q. Test at the end of the Junior Cycle. (2nd class) The results will be compared with results in standardised reading and Math’s tests to ensure pupils are working to their full potential. The NRIT will be used.

Screening tests are used to facilitate the early identification of pupil’s learning strengths/difficulties.
The screening tests used to identify learning strengths and weaknesses in our school are;
 Drumcondra Level 1 ( 1st Class)
 Jolly Phonics Checklist
 Literacy Lift Off – Word Reading Test
– Written Vocabulary Test
– Letter Identification Test
– Running Records
These tests are administered individually to senior infants and first class Screening is used by the school to initiate the staged approach to intervention as per circulars 24/03 and 02/05.

Diagnostic Assessment
Formal diagnostic tests are used to determine appropriate learning support for individual pupils. Such tests are administered by SEN team following referral by the class teachers in consultation with parents/guardians. The administration of such tests is in keeping with the approach recommended by Circular 02/05 where a staged approach is implemented.
The diagnostic tests used in the school include;
 Phonological Awareness Test (Robertson and Salter)
 Jackson – Get Reading Right
 Aston Index
 Mathematics Recovery (Wright)
 Reading Recovery Observation Survey
 Jolly Phonics Reading Assessment
 EAL initial interview

Continuum of Support Process
Where a teacher or parent have concerns about the academic, physical, social, behavioural or emotional development of a child the school will follow these guidelines:
• The teacher should meet with parents as early as possible to pool their information about the child.
• Stage 1, Classroom Support, should be implemented. The teacher should administer screening checklists and profiles for children in infants and first classes. Norm referenced tests will be administered to older children and behavioral checklists will be used where appropriate. A plan for extra help within the normal class should be drawn up and reviewed with the parents.
• If concern remains after two school terms, the SEN team should be consulted with a view to moving on to Stage 2, School Support. The child with learning difficulties should be referred for Learning Support after securing parental permission. If further diagnostic tests reveal that the child would benefit from supplementary teaching an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be drawn up.
• A written application for an Irish exemption is made by the parent/guardian to the school principal on behalf of their child. The application should state the reasons why the exemption is being sought. A child will only be considered for an exemption where his/her education circumstances come within the provision of the primary circular 0052/2019.
• If significant concerns remain after a school term it may be necessary to implement Stage 3, School Support Plus. With the permission of parents the school will formally request a consultation and, where appropriate, an assessment of need from a specialist in respect of the child’s learning difficulties. Such specialist advice may be sought from physiologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, audiologists and general practitioners for referral to CAMHS. In consultation with the relevant specialists the SET and the class teacher should then draw up a learning plan and parents will be fully consulted throughout the process.

Assessment for Learning
Assessment for learning involves the children discussing with the teacher what it is they are about to learn. This information aids the teacher in planning future learning and offers children a way to reflect on and assess their own learning. The whole school use WALT and WILF on a daily basis to ensure children know what they are learning as well as what is expected of them. They additionally use outlined success criteria to help children succeed in every lesson. Strategies for AFL to be used include:
• KWL charts to be completed on a wall chart for younger pupils and individually in copies by senior pupils
• Brainstorming
• Concept mapping
• Teacher observation
• Checklists
• Peer Assessment
• Self-Assessed work samples
• Maths Assessments
• WALT & WILF/ Success Criteria
• Thumbs up or down
• Arm out and in to gauge knowledge of task
• History swap/ Gaelige Neamhfhoirmiuil
• 2 stars and a wish
• Writing Rubrics

Each pupil has an individual file which is stored in a filing cabinet in the office. This file records end of year reports. Aladdin is used for the recording of standardised test results. While most information will be stored in the pupil’s file some may be stored electronically. Teachers will use agreed terminology when commenting on pupil’s progress and are constantly aware of the need to record comments in an objective and instructive manner. (See Appendix 2).
Each class teacher is provided with an Important Information Folder. This folder is passed on to the relevant teacher at the end of each school year. This folder contains:

  • Important test results including NRIT and standardised test scores
  • Class tracking system (which contains a summary of SEN interventions throughout their time in school)
  • A current list of SEN supports ( updated at the end of each school year)

Reporting to Parents
Teachers report to parents at least twice yearly. One report is an oral report at Parent/Teacher meetings. A written report is sent to all parents in mid-June. Reports of standardised tests are included on written reports for 1st-6th classes. Scores provided are class based and standardised scores and NCCA Report templates will be used. Parents are given the opportunity to seek a meeting with the Principal/class teacher to discuss the written report if necessary.

Reporting to Primary/2nd level Schools
A Passport (including the information from standardised tests) must be sent to the relevant primary/secondary school to which a student transfers on proof of enrolment.

Reporting to BOM and DES
The Principal is required to report annually aggregated assessment data from standardised tests to the BOM in June.
The Principal is also required to report aggregate standardised test results to DES in June for 2nd, 4th and 6th classes.

Success Criteria
This policy is considered successful if:
 Early identification and intervention is achieved.
 Clarity is achieved regarding procedures involved in staged approach.
 Procedures are clear and roles and responsibilities are defined.
 The SEN Team has clearly defined roles and objectives.
 There is efficient transfer of information between teachers.

Roles and Responsibilities
Class teachers, Special Education teachers and the Principal assume shared responsibility. It is the responsibility of the class teacher to set in train staged intervention at class level. At stage 2 the responsibilities are shared with the Special Education Team. The Principal assumes a primary role at Stage 3 when outside intervention may be required. We recognise the importance of communicating regularly with parents as they have a major role to play in their children’s education.

Implementation and Review
This policy is effective from April 2021 and will be reviewed in September 2023.

Signed:_____________ Date: _

          Chairman - Board of Management
           Cloonakilla N.S.