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ST. MARY’SChurch of England Primary School

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Assessment at St. Mary’s

What do we use assessment for at St. Mary's?

1. Pupil agency - developing proficiency to self-direct their learning

We focus heavily on 'pupil agency' and empowering our children to sit in the driving seat of their own learning. 


What this looks like differs between age groups - but is consistent in the approach we expect teachers to follow as pupils grow and develop throughout the school.


All pupils at St. Mary's are taught to:

  • Develop assessment proficiency - to be able to talk about their learning in the context of the learning intention and the success criteria. Do they know what they are learning and why?
  • Discuss what they have achieved in the lesson and to pick out what they need to improve. Can they discuss the learning and explain what they need to do to improve?
  • Self-assess and peer-assess their own learning and the learning of others - every lesson. Ensuring that they can show/demonstrate and prove how they have met the success criteria. Can they identify how successful they have been in their learning?
  • Conference with their teacher/additional adults to talk about the process of learning and to receive feedback on their next steps. Are they able to talk to an adult about what they find easy, difficult or would like more help with?

2. Utilise feedback effectively as a tool to improve learning

Our feedback policy (available below) is simple. Pupils are presented with coded, visual cues to demonstrate what they have successfully achieved, and what they need to work on - achieved through highlighter pens (green and orange).


All pupils are set NSLs (Next Steps in Learning) weekly which support them to further improve their learning - applying their knowledge and skills.

3. Assessment to support teacher planning - use of gap analysis.

We do not use assessment as a purely summative tool to look at pupils' learning between terms. Further, we do not use 'commercial' assessment packages that bear no relation to the bespoke and exciting curriculum we have developed.


Assessment supports us with four key things:

  1. To understand how well our pupils are progressing in the curriculum we have created and developed. 
  2. To provide teachers with a snapshot of retained knowledge and skills from the learning delivered.
  3. To support leaders in ensuring that pupils are placed in the correct streamed ability group - enabling us to provide swift therapy and support where necessary.
  4. To support all stakeholders in evidencing that pupils know more, remember more and can do more.

Assessment - PiXL 

PiXL is a partner organisation that aims to support schools in improving life-chances for pupils. Membership to the programme provides leadership development support to enable leaders to become agents of change in their school community.


At St. Mary's we build our assessments in Reading and Maths based on the coverage of our bespoke curriculum and the test materials that PiXL develop.


How do we know that PiXL tests are effective in covering St. Mary's curriculum content in English and Maths?


In Reading, our curriculum delivery is mapped against the content domains that testers use to develop the KS1 and KS2 end of key stage assessments. This focus on the mechanics of comprehension and word-level vocabulary development enables our pupils to feel confident in approaching tests that are familiar to those they will eventually meet at the end of the key stage.


In addition to the summative assessments, year groups utilise 'unseen texts' to support learners in showing their understanding in reading content areas. Teachers use these as 'checking in' milestones after a period of teaching to understand exactly what pupils know and remember.


In Mathematics, our pedagogy focuses on 'Fluency, Practice and Practical Application' every lesson. The assessments bear resemblance to the end of key stage tests that pupils will face, but are heavily weighted to the curriculum content taught in that term. 


In addition, teachers create pre and post-assessments in different sets to further identify gaps in knowledge that require intervention.

Assessment of the Wider Curriculum

In the non-core curriculum teachers utilise a range of assessment pedagogical strategies - these include:


  • Quizzes and re-cap questions - at the start of each Geography, Science, Art and History lessons pupils are prompted to elicit prior knowledge from previous lessons/year group learning. 
  • Learning Intention and Success Criteria (LI/SC) - pupils actively assess their performance in the lesson against the session target, steps to success or key knowledge.
  • Composite Assessment - end of unit teacher and pupil conferencing to reflect on pupil learning across curricula.

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