Assessment Policy - Scoil Naomh Áine NS

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Assessment Policy


Scoil Naomh Áine, Rathgarogue
Assessment Policy (Review)

October 2013

How the Assessment Policy was developed

This Assessment Policy was reviewed and developed by the staff of Scoil Naomh Áine. Members of the Parents’ Association and the Board of Management were consulted for their input.
This review was necessary following the publication of the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy.
NCCA Guidelines from “Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum – Guidelines for Schools” were adhered to.

School Mission Statement and Philosophy
Scoil Naomh Áine is a Catholic Primary School under the patronage of the Bishop of Ferns. It promotes a Catholic ethos, while welcoming and respecting the values of children of all denominations.

Our aim is to impart Christian values and standards within a constructive learning environment. We endeavour to ensure that the individuality of the child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption free environment. Our Code of Behaviour shows caring and concern for each child and we nurture self-esteem, self-respect and respect for others.

We encourage the active learning of each child at his/her own pace and to his/her full potential. We strive to provide a well ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupil are identified and addressed.

Scoil Naomh Áine promotes excellence in teaching and learning.

We in Scoil Naomh Áine subscribe to the aims of education:

  • To enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realize his or her potential as a unique individual.

  • To enable the child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others and so contribute to the good of society.

  • To prepare the child for further education and lifelong learning.

[Revised Primary School Curriculum]

The Purpose of the Assessment Policy

This Assessment Policy was developed to ensure there is a coherent approach to Assessment throughout Scoil Naomh Áine. It highlights the important position of assessment in pupils’ learning and it forms part of our greater School Plan.

The Purpose of Assessment

Assessment will enable the staff of Scoil Naomh Áine:

  • to monitor the progress of each child

  • to identify pupils with learning difficulties

  • to assist planning, to evaluate and modify teaching strategies based on results of assessments

  • to enable teachers provide accurate information about pupils progress to relevant parties – particularly parents and where applicable receiving schools

  • to enable children become independent learners by effectively using self-assessment strategies

  • to ensure a balance of Assessment of Learning and Assessment for Learning strategies are used throughout the school

  • to compare trends in standardised test results from year to year

  • to compare a child’s performance in standardised tests from year to year

Staff Roles and Responsibilities for the Assessment Policy

The Principal and Learning Support Team have responsibility for ensuring the Assessment Policy is reviewed and updated regularly.
All class teachers have responsibility for ensuring they implement the policy in their classrooms as required.
The Learning Support Team and the class teachers will analyse standardised test results and class test results to identify pupils who may require learning support.
The teaching staff has the responsibility to ensure they are confident of using both Assessment of Learning and Assessment for Learning strategies in their classrooms.

Assessment Methods
“Using information gathered from a variety of assessment methods, over a period of time, can help the teacher to create a detailed picture of a child’s progress and achievement.” NCCA

Assessment methods used in Scoil Naomh Áine will include both Assessment for Learning and Assessment of Learning methods.
The importance of teacher observation in assessment must not be under estimated and it forms the core of our Assessment Policy.

Questions for Self Assessment
Use of Evaluation Sheet for Self-Assessment
Use of KWL grids
(Samples on pg 14 NCCA Guidelines)

Teacher Child Conferencing
The teacher talks to the child about his/her strengths and achievements and makes suggestions about where and how learning can be improved. These conferences can be planned or incidental.
(Samples pg 2NCCA Guidelines)

Portfolio Assessment

A portfolio is a collection of the child’s work, reflecting his/her learning and development over a period of time. The portfolio can be used in many subject areas
(Samples pg 30 NCCA Guidelines)

Concept Mapping
This is a process of using spatial representations and the relationship between these ideas. This assessment helps the teacher to see inside the child’s thoughts and examine how the child relates elements of knowledge to one another. This can be used effectively as an Assessment for Learning or an Assessment of Learning tool. Following a lesson/period of work the teacher may provide a blank concept map for the children to complete. Alternatively, before beginning a new topic the teacher may ask the children to create a concept map. This will provide a basis for the teacher to identify both previous knowledge and any gaps in the children’s knowledge. MindMap is a free ICT concept mapping tool.
(Samples pg 36 NCCA Guidelines)

Questioning underpins all classroom assessment methods. Closed questions; where one factual answer is correct, and open questions; which encourage a more critical analytical response are used widely in all classrooms. Open questions encourage the development of higher order thinking skills.

Teacher Observations
Teacher observations spontaneous or planned can happen at any time a teacher and child interact. Observations made by a teacher offer some of the more immediate and accurate information about a child’s learning. Recording these observations in context can make planning further work more focused.
(Samples pg 46 NCCA Guidelines)

Teacher Designed Tests and Tasks
These forms of assessment can include written, oral or practical assignments developed by the teacher to assess children’s learning. Teacher designed tests and tasks can be used as the basis for continuous assessment (AfL) or at the end of an academic year/term or a period of learning about a certain topic for the purpose of Assessment of Learning. (Samples pg 54 NCCA Guidelines)

Standardised Testing
Standardised tests in Maths and English determine a child’s progress in these areas. They allow teachers to compare pupils to the national norms. When used in combination with other Assessment tools Standardised testing contributes to the accuracy of the teacher’s monitoring and assists in identifying the needs of particular children.

All pupils in 1 – 6 class will be assessed in May/June every year using Standardised Tests in Maths and Literacy.
We currently use Micra-T for Reading and Comprehension Assessment and Sigma-T for Maths Assessment.
On a trial basis we will introduce the Drumcondra Primary Spelling Test to all classes from 1 – 6.

Interpreting and Using Assessment Methods
Assessment methodologies 1-7 above will be interpreted by the class teacher, the learning support teacher and in some cases by the child themselves.
The information drawn from these assessments will feed into future classroom planning.
The results of Standardised Testing will be analysed by the Learning Support team in conjunction with the class teacher. The results will be used to compare trends from year to year, to compare a child’s performance with previous years and to identify pupils in need of learning support in the following academic year.

Assessment information will be used as a source of evidence as we seek to improve our teaching and learning. Data from assessments will be used to identify priorities for development including desirable changes to teaching approaches and priorities for staff development and the acquisition of resources .
The effectiveness of initiatives implemented to improve student learning will be monitored through the use of assessment data.

Recording and Reporting Assessment Information

Teacher’s Records
Class teachers will maintain a class file recording assessment information of pupils in their care. This information may be maintained in the teacher’s Year Planner, in a diary or in individual pupil’s files or folders.

Pupil Files
Pupils files which include a copy of the pupil’s End-of-Year Report Card are stored in the filing cabinet in the staffroom. Standardised Test booklets and some samples of work are also stored in this file.

Pupils with Special Educational Needs have an extra file which may include sensitive information. One copy of this file is stored in the Principal’s Office and another in the Learning Support Room. All teachers who require access to information about a particular child are welcome to access these SEN files.

Mid-Year Report
Parents will receive a Mid-Year Report Card from their child’s teacher. This Report Card will be issued in late January or February. Parents will receive this Report Card before the Parent/Teacher meeting.

Parent/Teacher Meetings
Parent /Teacher meetings will be held annually.

End-of-Year Report Card
The key purpose of the Report Card is to share information with parents. By sharing this information with parents, the school can strengthen the capacities of parents to support their children.
In reporting to parents, information from the following four areas must be included:

  • the child’s learning and achievement across the curriculum

  • the child’s learning disposition

  • the child’s social and personal development

  • ways in which parents can support their child’s learning

The End-of-Year Report Card will be issued in early June.

The results of Standardised Tests will be included in this Report Card. An explanation of test results will be included.
The Standardised Test results will be recorded in a separate section of the Report Card as a sTen score.

Reporting Information from Standardised Test Results to the Board of Management
The Principal will report annually aggregated assessment data from Standardised Tests to the Board of Management.

Reporting Standardised Test Results to the Department of Education and Skills
The Principal will report aggregated Standardised Test results of 2, 4 and 6 class to the DES. This reporting will be completed online using the ESINET facility.

Reporting Assessment Results to Other Schools
On receiving written confirmation that a past pupil of Scoil Naomh Áine has enrolled in another primary or second level school the principal will send, or arrange to be sent, a copy of the End-of Year Report Card, including information on Standardised Test results to the receiving school.

Other Assessment Tools used in Scoil Naomh Áine

MIST (Middle Infants Screening Test)
The MIST test is an assessment of pupils’ skills and ability in auditory comprehension and attention, recognition of letter sounds, written vocabulary, 3-phenome word spelling and sentence dictation.
The test is administered to Senior Infants between late February and April by a member of the Learning Support Team and the class teacher.
Pupils who obtain a score below the cut-offpoint as recommended in the manual are observed closely by the class teacher and their needs are discussed by the principal, class teacher and a member of the learning support team. A plan of action is decided and implemented.

Belfield Infant Assessment Profile
The BIAP Assessment is an early screening assessment in the areas of Perceptual Processes, Motor Development, Early Learning Styles, Language and Communication and Social and Emotional Development. It is administered to pupils about whom the class teacher/learning support teacher may have concerns at the end of Junior Infants or in Senior Infants by a member of the Learning Support Team.
This assessment is essentially an early screening for learning difficulties and interventions will be put in place as appropriate following the assessment for those children who may require it.

NNRIT (New Non Reading Intelligence Test)
The NNRIT is administered in first class. The test is presented orally by the class teacher or learning support teacher, enabling general ability to be assessed independently of reading. This test helps to identify low achieving and slow reading pupils who may never the less have high underlying abilities.
The results of the NNRIT will be compared with Standardised Test Results to see if there is any discrepancy between achievement in Literacy attainment and Non Reading Intelligence.

Phonics Tests
Phonics tests are designed by the Learning Support Team and are administered to pupils, for whom they are deemed necessary based on teacher information and child performance, from Junior Infants upwards.

Junior Infants – In the first half of the last term of school the Junior Infants class complete the first half of the Phonological Awareness Test by Hatcher (Jackson Phonics, Letter names and Sounds).
Those who score poorly on the test in Junior Infants will receive support in the first term of Senior Infants and be re-tested after intervention.

1 class and 2 class pupils who are exhibiting problems in the area of phonics are tested using the Hatcher and Jackson Phonics tests 4 and 5 (CVC and consonant blends).

3 – 6 class Children who attend Learning Support or who have Resource hours may be tested using the Neale Analysis Assessment to confirm child is doing well or otherwise. The Neale Analysis tests speed, fluency, phonics and reading ability.

Drumcondra Test for Early Literacy- Screening
The DTEL is a screening test suitable for use with pupils at the end of Senior Infants. The test compliments a teacher’s observations and assessments of a child’s performance and increases understanding of particular difficulties. The test identifies pupils who may be at risk of reading difficulties. It assesses two aspects of reading: word recognition and comprehension. The test can be administered to small groups of pupils (10 or fewer) by the class teacher or the Learning Support teacher and takes approximately 40 minutes to administer.
(This test will be introduced on a trial basis for the Senior Infants class of 2013-2014.)

Drumcondra Test for Early Numeracy – Screening
The DTEN is a screening test suitable for use with pupils at the end of Senior Infants. The test compliments a teacher’s observations and assessments of a child’s performance and increases understanding of particular difficulties. The test is divided into three parts: pre-number, numeration and addition and subtraction. The test can be administered to small groups of pupils (10 or fewer) by the class teacher or the Learning Support teacher and takes approximately 40 minutes to administer.
(This test will be introduced on a trial basis for the Senior Infants class of 2013-2014.)

The class teacher and Learning Support Teacher will use their knowledge of the children to decided whether it is necessary to administer the Drumcondra Test for Early Literacy – Diagnostic and the Drumcondra Test for Early Numeracy - Diagnostic to those who have attained low scores on the DTEL –S and the DTEN-S.

Exceptionally Able Pupils

An exceptionally able pupil is one who is in the top range of 5-10% of the student population. An exceptionally able student is one who has the capacity for or demonstrates high levels of performance in an academic or non-academic area. Although Resource hours are not allocated for exceptionally able pupils, the pupils which fall into this category will, when possible, be allocated learning support under the GAM model of support. This may be in-class, small group withdrawal or withdrawal on a one to one basis.
Class teachers will inform parents if they feel a child fits into this category. Repeated high scores on Standardised Tests may indicate exceptional ability.
Parents will be given information on the DCU Centre for Talented Youth. Funding for participation in this programme is unfortunately not available from the school and unfortunately participation must be funded privately.
Where pupils show an exceptional talent in any non-academic are, development of these talents will be encouraged by the school and where possible, if funding and expertise allow, supports will be put in place.

Procedures for Drawing up Individual Education Plans

Children who are allocated Resource Hours will receive support from the Learning Support Team. This support may be delivered in-class, in small groups or on a one to one basis.

All children who have been assessed will have an Individual Education Plan developed to focus on their individual learning needs.
Resource hours are allocated only to children who are in the “Low Incidence” category as defined by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). This category includes Physical Disability, Hearing Impairment, Visual Impairment, Emotional Disturbance, Severe Emotional Disturbance, Moderate General Learning Disability, Severe/Profound General Learning Disability, Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Assessed Syndrome, Specific Speech and Language Disorders and Multiple Disabilities.

IEPs are designed only to identify modifications to the curriculum which are necessary, not completely re-write the curriculum.

IEPs will be developed by a member of the Learning Support Team in consultation with the class teacher, the parent and the principal. Each member’s opinion will be valued.
Information for the IEP will be gathered from both formal and informal settings including the school and home. If a psychological report is available, cognisance will be taken of the information it offers about the difficulties experienced by the pupil and the pupil’s needs. Class based assessments and assessments administered by a member of the Learning Support Team will be of value in developing the IEP.

Targets established in the IEP will be set to a high but attainable level.

The IEP will include:

  • Family Background

  • Strengths and Interests

  • Persons involved in drawing up the IEP

  • Formal and Informal Assessment results

  • Formal Assessments results will include standardised and diagnostic test results

  • Informal Assessment results will include teacher observations and teacher designed tasks and tests.

  • History of Support – Classroom Support, School Support and School Support Plus

  • Targets for the pupil – Information for these targets will be based on information gathered from Formal and Informal Assessments

  • Signatures of persons involved (Learning Support Teacher, Class Teacher, Parents/Guardians, Principal)

  • Resources

Individual plans may include the following:

  • Adaptations to the physical environment

  • Use of equipment or AssistiveTechnology

  • Provision of SNA

The IEP will be reviewed in January each year. Fortnightly plans developed by the Learning Support teacher will ensure the targets in the IEP remain the focus of individual learning and that the child’s achievements and difficulties are monitored regularly.

Selection of Children for Formal Assessment by NEPS Educational Psychologist

Every September, the Principal will meet with the Learning Support Team (or a member of the Learning Support Team if they have discussed same previously) and discuss all children that they feel would benefit from a formal assessment.

If not already in place, the Continuum of Support model of support recommended by NEPS will be implemented. This encompasses three distinct school-based processes as follows:
(a) Classroom Support
(b) School Support
(c) School Support Plus.

If Classroom Support and School Support Interventions are not yielding expected positive outcomes the possibility or need for an educational psychological assessment will be discussed with our NEPS psychologist.
The advice of the psychologist will be taken into account before any decision is made regarding recommending a formal assessment. Pupils are prioritised according to their level of need.

A member of the Learning Support Team will contact the parent of the child and discuss the need for an assessment with them. They will be asked to sign a consent form allowing for NEPS involvement with their child. The parent will usually be invited to meet with the psychologist.

The Learning Support Teacher, the class teacher and the parent may be required to complete forms about the child’s behaviour or academic achievements.

This Assessment Policy will be reviewed in October 2016 or earlier if required.

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