Providing high-quality feedback to students is integral to effective teaching. Equally, gathering feedback on how well students have learned a topic is important in enabling teachers to address any misunderstanding and provide the right level of challenge in future lessons. At SJB assessment is both formative and summative. Periodically we monitor the students and send home a report to parents; the monitoring provides parents, students and a Head of Year with an overview of how the students are getting on. Below we have answered a few key questions that we hope will help you to better understand the system at SJB.
What is summative assessment?
Summative assessment is an assessment done at the end of a specified period of time. It is to assess a learner’s understanding or attainment. Summative assessment may take the form of a formal test or exam, or it may be an essay or project piece of work. Summative assessment usually involves a ‘score’ or ‘grade’ and potentially a qualification. GCSEs and ‘A’ levels are examples of very final summative assessment. But many end of year, or even end of term, tests are also classed as summative assessment.
What is formative assessment?
Formative assessment takes many forms. It is part of a process of evaluating student understanding and adapting teaching to respond to this. Formative assessment can be very informal. It can be asking specific questions during a class, or observing a partner talk or taking a quick poll during a lesson. Formative assessment can be more formal, though. For example, interviewing a student to assess understanding, listening to them read, marking homework. The element which makes assessment formative is the part when the results are used. This may be to adapt teaching or make decisions regarding support for students.
Is feedback part of formative or summative assessment?
Feedback is a vital part of formative assessment, as well as the teacher adapting their teaching or lesson plans. They may pass on the feedback which allows the learner to adapt their approach. This may aim to encourage them to revise, to offer more support, or to remind them of learning. Summative assessment will often include feedback in the form of a result. It does not usually feed back into the teaching and learning cycle if it is a final exam.
Can summative assessment be used formatively?
Yes. Summative assessment often can be used to inform formative assessment practices. Teachers may use a gap analysis to see which questions the group, or an individual, did particularly well on or where there was a weakness. This will then be used to plan some lessons, or to plan an intervention for an individual or small group. Where summative assessment is used termly, or for the end of a unit/topic, it can improve teaching and learning. Where this happens, this can be called a formative assessment process as well as summative.
For each year group there will be at least two points in the year when we send home a formal monitoring report for your child. When completing the monitoring teachers are asked to judge a students behaviour, homework, skills for learning and their progress towards a target/expectation. Below is a list of the various elements that are contained within your child’s report (not all reports contain all these elements):
Target Grade (KS4 & KS5 only)
This is the grade that your child is aiming to achieve at the end of Year 11 / 13. It is derived using their prior attainment (KS2 or KS4) and the projected national outcomes for each individual subjects. We aim for our target grades to be “realistically aspirational” – in other words, they are aspirational but we truly believe the student can achieve the grade if they work hard.
Current Predicted Grade (KS4 & KS5 only)
This is the grade that we believe they can achieve in if they continue working as they are until the end of Year 11 / 13.
At KS3 we monitor progress from one period of monitoring to the next; this is a wholistic teacher judgement based on both formative and summative assessments that have taken place. There are four possible options: Exceptional Progress; Good Progress; Expected Progress; and Less than Expected Progress.
Current Learning Path (KS3 only)
The Current Learning Path is an indicator of where your child is currently working given all they have done so far this year in classwork, homework and summative assessments; it is a holistic picture of their achievements. There are four learning paths: Mastering, Deepening, Secure, Emerging. The current learning path is only shared with parents and students following the year group exams to give an indication of their current trajectory and to support year 9 options choices.
Exam Learning Path (KS3 only)
Exam Learning Pathway shows what your child achieved in their written exam. These exams were low stakes assessments aimed at providing an indication on how well your child is progressing in each subject.
Skills for Learning (all years)
We have broken down the skills required for learning to help the students better understand how their actions can support learning. The statements are available on the second page of the monitoring report and the image above (click here to download).
Behaviour for Learning (all years)
Behaviour for Learning is graded from 1 (excellent) to 4 (very poor); there will always be follow up from the Head of Year or Curriculum Leader for students with 3s and 4s in their monitoring report. The full descriptors can be found on the second page of the monitoring report and the image above (click here to download).
Homework (all years)
Homework is an important part of the learning process as it helps students to become more independent and build a routine of working outside school. Where subjects are setting homework, it will be reported on using the descriptors on the image above (click here to download).