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Children's Learning


“If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you have arrived?”

Lewis Carroll

Assessment is the process of gathering evidence for use by both pupils and teachers to enable the review, planning and improvement of learning. It is fully integrated with the delivery of the curriculum and is an important part of effective classroom practice. Teachers use a wide variety of practices and techniques when assessing children's work in order to support their learning.

The key purpose of assessment is to move children on in their learning. Continued monitoring of each child's progress gives a clear picture of what each child is doing. It is important that teachers know what has been remembered, what skills have been acquired, and what concepts have been understood. This enables teachers to reflect on what children are doing and inform future planning.

Assessment at St Dunstan’s School supports each pupil in the achievement of his or her full learning potential and fosters the development of self-esteem and personal responsibility. It takes place in a self reflective context and encourages the involvement of all staff, pupils and parents. The more children are actively involved in the assessment of their own work, the greater the quality and effectiveness of their learning.

Two distinct approaches to assessment

Summative Assessment? Formative Assessment?
This is Assessment OF Learning.

It is used mainly to measure performance and clearly identifies a standard of pupil attainment.

It is carried out at the end of a period of learning. Examples:
  • External Examinations SAT
  • End of Topic/Unit Tests
  • Standardised Tests (such as reading, spelling and maths)
It focuses on measuring current performance - how successful a learner has been.
This is Assessment FOR Learning. It simply refers to any process by which pupils are made aware of how they can make progress.

 It supports learning through identifying difficulties, diagnosing future learning priorities and is shared with children through feedback activities.
  • Feedback
  • Questioning
  • Talk partners
  • Peer and self-assessment
  • Child self-reflection
  • Use of models to show children the expected standard
  • Use of Learning Outcomes and Success Criteria

Teachers gather information about the children’s learning in and after the learning to understand where the children are and to inform what is next in the learning sequence for the children- individually and as a group.

Assessment for Learning
We strive to teach the children the importance of learning and the processes to enable them to become independent learners and empowered to be owners of their learning.

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Therefore we start by ensuring the children know what they are going to learn and why. We explicitly share details of the learning with children so they know:
  • How they can recognise their achievement (learning outcomes)
  • What good looks like (success criteria and models)
  • Why they are learning (the purpose or 'Big Picture')
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During the learning sequence, teachers continually engage the children in activities that will inform them where children are so they can then adapt their teaching in response. Classroom dialogue is key; children need to be able to articulate their understanding of the learning and to be involved in the process of the feedback to help move their learning forward.

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For this to be effective we aim to provide the children with:
  • A learning climate where they feel safe to take risks; to feel self-belief; to know how to learn; to understand the high expectations of their teachers and a genuine sense that teachers believe in them to succeed.
  • Clear learning objectives and success criteria.
  • Talk partners and classroom discussion.
  • The tools to give self and peer feedback.

The classroom becomes a learning environment which encourages everyone to improve and help each other to improve. Children are comfortable accepting feedback from each other, sharing their responses and understand how to provide helpful and constructive feedback. The classroom develops as a place of learning for all. 

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Feedback to children focuses on two important issues:

  • what you are doing well

  • how you can improve your work 

We try to encourage children to realise that effort and technique are the keys to learning and that you can grow your ability to learn.   

"Learning happens in the pupils' heads as they assess their level of understanding or quality of their work in their heads and recognise how to improve it."

DfE Assessment for Learning: 8 Schools Project Report 2007

Summary of Assessment at St Dunstan’s Catholic Primary School

  • Teacher observation of children’s learning
  • Teacher discussion with children about their learning
  • Teachers' review of children's learning
  • Children assess their own work (or work of others) against the success criteria and the objective of the lesson as well as against the models in the classroom.
  • Teachers give feedback during the lesson or at the start of the following lesson and allow children to respond to this feedback
  • Teachers look through children’s books in order to establish levels of understanding and determine next steps. This ensures that new plans are made that meet the needs of all the children in the group
Termly End of topic assessments are completed and moderated. Results are analysed by teachers to make sure all children are making the expected progress.
  • SATS
    All children in years 2 and 6 undertake formal assessments in Reading, Writing and Maths.
    All children in year 1 undertake a phonics screening check, one to one with their teacher. Parents are informed if their child meets the threshold and if further support is needed in year 2. Those children repeat the screening in year 2, one to one with their class teacher.
    All children in years 3, 4 and 5 undertake formal assessments in Reading, Writing and Maths
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St. Dunstan's Catholic Primary School, Onslow Crescent, Woking, Surrey. GU22 7AX  Tel: 01483 715190 
email: office@stdunstans.surrey.sch.uk