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Holy Cross Boys PS, Belfast
HCB wins Best School Award at the Families First Education Awards 2022 [Open Image]
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Here in Holy Cross Boys’ we carry out the task of Assessment of our pupils both formally and informally with the highest degree of care. Formal Assessments from P1 –P7 incorporate the use of a variety of tests. Tests that we carry out across the key stages include PIPS Baselining (P1), COMET, (P1) MIST (P2), Nfer PiE & PiM (P2) CAT4 (P3 & P5), PTE & PTM (P3-P7).

Christmas tests are also completed by each year group (P1-P6).  

As mentioned these are our formal assessments and many people assume that ‘assessment’ means taking a test, but assessment is broader than that. There are two main types of assessment: summative assessment and formative assessment. These are sometimes referred to as assessment of learning and assessment for learning, respectively. At some level, both happen in almost all classrooms. The key to good assessment practice is to understand what each type contributes and to build your practice to maximise the effectiveness of each.

Summative assessment

Summative assessment sums up what a pupil has achieved at the end of a period of time, relative to the learning aims and the relevant national standards. The period of time may vary, depending on what the teacher wants to find out. There may be an assessment at the end of a topic, at the end of a term or half-term, at the end of a year or, as in the case of the national curriculum tests (listed above), at the end of a key stage.

A summative assessment may be a written test, an observation, a conversation or a task. It may be recorded through writing, through photographs or other visual media, or through an audio recording. Whichever medium is used; the assessment will show what has been achieved. It will summarise attainment at a particular point in time and may provide individual and cohort data that will be useful for tracking progress and for informing stakeholders (e.g. parents, coordinators, class teachers, management & governors, etc.).

Formative assessment

Formative assessment takes place on a day-to-day basis during teaching and learning, allowing teachers and pupils to assess attainment and progress more frequently. It begins with diagnostic assessment, indicating what is already known and what gaps may exist in skills or knowledge. If a teacher and pupil understand what has been achieved to date, it is easier to plan the next steps. As the learning continues, further formative assessments indicate whether teaching plans need to be amended to reinforce or extend learning.

Formative assessments may be questions, tasks, quizzes or more formal assessments. Often formative assessments may not be recorded at all, except perhaps in the lesson plans drawn up to address the next steps indicated.

All formal assessments in Holy Cross Boys’ are analysed and compared to the previous six years to help us get a better understanding of where a pupil or class are at compared historically to peers from previous years. All results are analysed and all relevant stakeholders participate in Round Table Meetings where progress and results are discussed in detail. This gives class teachers an opportunity to provide observations on individual pupil’s results. A Remedial Action Plan is drafted where the teacher outlines what support or interventions they are going to use, whether that be contacting parents, promotion/relegation between differentiated groups or focused support/resources. Holy Cross Boys’ take their role, in assessment, as top of all priorities for the betterment of all the pupils we teach.