In July, Ofsted published an updated version of the School Inspection Handbook. This handbook details the evidence that inspectors should be looking for when carrying out Section 5 inspections.

 

Of particular interest is the new guidance to support inspectors in making judgements during the phased removal of National Curriculum levels. Assessment is mentioned in the ‘Leadership and management’ and ‘Quality of teaching’ sections of the handbook, but it is a key focus of the ‘Achievement of pupils at the school’ section. Below is a summary of the key points and how use of the Rising Stars Assessment Progress Tests will help schools to provide the evidence that inspectors will be seeking.

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What inspectors will be looking for from September 2014 How the Rising Stars Assessment Progress Tests can help
Range and reliability of assessment tools
Inspectors expect schools to use a range of assessment tools including tests. However, they will want assurance that the methods used are robust and that the school’s attainment data is accurate and reliable. The Rising Stars’ Progress Tests are designed to help schools assess progress. They have been produced in conjunction with curriculum and assessment experts and have also been reviewed for accessibility.
Detailed mark schemes have been provided to enable teachers to mark the tests consistently so that the results are accurate and reliable.
Progress against expected standards
Inspectors will be looking to see how well pupils are doing against relevant age-related expectations set out by the school and the National Curriculum, and whether pupils are on track to meet the expected standards for their year group and end of key stage. The Rising Stars’ Progress Tests are specifically designed to help teachers track the progress their pupils are making against the Programmes of Study for the new National Curriculum. The marks for the tests are allocated to three progress bands so that teachers can identify whether each child is making:
• expected progress,
• more than expected progress or
• less than expected progress
for the subject and year group.
Use of the tests across the school additionally enables teachers to monitor whether or not pupils are on track to meet the end of key stage standards.
Progress in English and mathematics
Inspectors will want to see evidence of the proportions of pupils making expected progress and the proportions exceeding expected progress in English and mathematics. The Rising Stars’ Progress Tests are available for English (separate tests for reading and grammar, punctuation and spelling), mathematics and science. The marks from each test are allocated to three progress bands so that teachers can quickly identify whether or not children are making expected progress, more than expected progress or less than expected progress for the subject and their year group. If teachers input the marks from tests into the supporting Progress Tracker spreadsheets they can see at a glance which pupils fall into which zone.
Progress being made by groups
Inspectors will be looking to see if progress is being made by the lowest and highest attaining pupils, and also other groups such as pupil premium and whether pupils are making the progress they should be. The use of progress zones means that teachers can quickly identify whether each pupil is making expected progress or whether they need support or additional challenge. The data from the Progress Trackers can be exported into the school’s MIS to support the whole-school tracking of pupil progress, including that of particular groups.
Use of formative and summative assessment
Inspectors will be looking to see how assessment is used to improve teaching and raise attainment. This will include:
• how the school uses assessment to identify pupils who are falling behind or who need additional support, including the most able; and
• how strengths and misconceptions are identified and acted on to plan future lessons and teaching.
The Progress Trackers include the total scores for each Rising Stars’ Progress Test and also the marks for each question. This makes it easy to identify areas of strength and weakness. The information is clearly presented and the progress zones are colour-coded for easy identification.
In addition to being able to help teachers identify when individual children need more support or challenge, the Progress Trackers can also be used to identify any whole-class issues. This is because the average score for each question in the tests is also colour-coded, enabling teachers to see if there are any areas that need support or further challenge for the whole class. Teachers can use this information to inform their planning to ensure their teaching is appropriately focused.

 

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