As a special school, our assessment arrangements have always been based upon the principle of progression and developmental stages. As described above, our new curriculum is a concept based curriculum and each concept has been mapped out to describe the knowledge and skills at each progression step. These have been formulated as ‘I can …’ statements which have been taken from the ‘Descriptors of Learning’. Although the Welsh Government has published the Enabling Pathways, we felt that we needed a clear ladder of progression that bridges the gap between Routes for Learning and Progression Step 1. As a school, we have therefore mapped knowledge and skills for 3 pre-progression 1 steps. These include the following;
- Pre-progression step 4
- Pre-progression step 5
- Pre-progression step 6
This allows teachers to follow the concept-based curriculum whilst being secure that they can pitch the learning at a level that is appropriate to the needs and developmental stage of their individual learners.
Teachers use a range of Assessment for Learning (AfL) approaches to inform their planning. AfL has been an integral part of the assessment and planning process within the school for a number of years. During the academic year 2019-20 a whole INSET day was dedicated to AfL approaches.
Teachers also use summative assessments such as the V5 B Squared assessment tool that is now in line with Curriculum for Wales and allows teachers to be able to measure small steps in progress which is so important for pupils with ALN. The use of B2 will be linked to the Target Setting over the coming year. Over the next year the focus will shift from analysing the performance of groups/cohorts to the progress of individual pupils, which is a lot more meaningful for pupils with ALN.
We are planning on developing Pupil Progress Profiles that will follow the pupil through their school journey and will celebrate their achievements and will also include examples of their work. It will also provide a profile of their skills and specific learning needs so that teachers can monitor their individual progress effectively. There will be key pieces of work that will be assessed that link to the enquiries/projects that have been undertaken each term.
As a school, we hope to align this work with the moderation process which will need to evolve to be more in line with the ethos of Curriculum for Wales. The newly appointed MLT Key Stage Leads will start to play a key role in collating, analysing and monitoring data for their departments.
The school also uses a range of summative assessments to identify pupils that require literacy and numeracy interventions including, NGRT (New Group Reading Test), NARA (Neale Analysis of Reading Ability), Wraps and Sandwell for numeracy.
Pupils in Key stage 4 and 5 also follow accredited courses in school and in college from Entry 1 to Level 1 that provide them with qualifications including Agored Cymru and Edexcel Level.