Assessment at Loughborough High takes many forms, including:
- Written work (in a variety of ways but including reading and comprehension activities, creative writing and past exam questions to provide a few examples)
- Non-written work (including drawing, design production and experiments for example)
- Performance work (in music, art and PE for example)
- Group and presentation work
- Research tasks and delivery
The above can and do of course overlap. Work can be assessed in a variety of forums: in class; in homework; in tests in class; in exams. The work can be a singular, isolated test of learning or a cumulative journey across time.
Assessment at Loughborough High School is intended to be meaningful, interesting, challenging and exciting. It informs progress and areas for future consideration. It is not and should not be considered a negative. Improvement is incremental, does not simply rise in a straight upwards line and there will be times when an assessment does not go as a pupil might have hoped. Resilience to learn from assessment experience is crucial not just for school, but for life. Wherever possible we aim to give students one week’s notice ahead of any major topic tests or assessments.
Grading of Assessment
In all of our reporting processes we aim to be evidenced, honest and fair in our judgements.
Years 7 – 9
For Years 7 – 9, pieces are assessed and reported on cumulatively in reports where attainment and effort grades are offered, as follows:
|5 = excellent||E = excellent|
|4 = very good||VG = very good|
|3 = good||G = good|
|2 = satisfactory||RI = requires improvement|
|1 = unsatisfactory||U = unsatisfactory|
This above numbering allows us to begin introducing pupils to the assessment numeration of GCSE work, to allow a picture of attainment progress through a pupil’s time at the school. For this academic year, departments will assess attainment leading to these reporting points in a number of ways, including on the 5-1 scale, raw marks, percentages and indeed in other ways. This will all build cumulatively into a 5-1 grading in reports.
We also seek to recognise and reward effort. Effort should be a combination of attitudes to learning (behaviour, punctuality etc.), contributions in class as well as assessed pieces. It is not intended here to become too prescriptive, but it would seem reasonable for a student to be doing well in all these aspects of effort to be given an Excellent overall. The pupil who maybe is well behaved and attentive in class and produces lovely assessed work but maybe doesn’t say anything verbally might be given a Very Good for effort, in comparison.
Years 10 and 11
For Years 10 and 11, we grade on the GCSE attainment scales of 9-1, with 9 being the highest grade.
In Year 10, grades are capped at a 7 until the Summer exams in reporting overall apart from modern languages where they are capped at a 5; this is deliberate policy because modern languages are cumulative, meaning the higher mark boundaries can only be accessed later in the course. From the Year 10 Summer exams onwards, the maximum grade available increases to 8 in all subjects apart from modern languages, where it becomes a 6.
Year 11 reports in the autumn term are graded from 8-1 for all subjects apart from modern languages. In modern languages the Year 11 September grade maximum increases to a 7, an 8 in November and then falls in line with all other subjects from the Year 11 mocks in January onwards. Grade 9s and the full 9-1 scale are awarded from the Year 11 mocks onwards in all subjects. Effort grades are also awarded as above for Years 7 – 9 where appropriate.
For Year 12, we grade on the A-E A Level matrix until the Summer exams in Year 12, when the A* grade is introduced. For Year 13 we grade on an A*-E grading system all year. No effort grades are given.
Homework forms part of our assessment programme. Homework is offered to allow extended learning away from lesson time, develops pupils’ independence and allows the reinforcement of material learnt at school. Homework timetables provide guidance to the scheduled setting of homework in a week in Years 7 – 11. We always try to provide a reasonable time for the completion of homework when set, accepting the pupils have busy lives. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, all homework in Years 7 – 11 will have at least two evenings for completion. We do not rigidly set homework in every available slot, and teachers have the discretion to occasionally not set homework. Sixth Form students see work set as appropriate by staff.
Homework can take a number of forms, many of which are outlined as above in the school’s overall approach to assessment. In addition, the following are also valid and useful homework activities:
- Consolidation and reflection upon previous work across the year
- Revision for an upcoming assessment
- Academic extension, in pushing the students into new and unusual fields of study Pupils are issued with homework timetables. The homework timetables have been planned so:
- There is an age-appropriate demand for homework on our students
- The homework demand increases as the pupils get older
- It allows pupils to explore subjects outside lessons yet takes their wellbeing into consideration
- There is space for pupils who have 25% Extra Time to complete their work in line with the maximum time advised provided by Duke University (see below)
- The suggested timings are maximums for a teacher to set for those without extra time
- No one does more than 2 hours of homework a night, even in the Sixth Form.
As a guide we would expect:
- A Year 7 to do 2 x 25 minutes homeworks per night
- A Year 8 to do 2 x 30 minutes homeworks per night
- A Year 9 to do 2 x 35 minutes homeworks per night
- A Year 10 to do 2 x 40 minutes homeworks per night
- A Year 11 to do 2 x 45 minutes homeworks per night
Pupils will receive varying amounts of homework depending by day due to the way in which subjects fall in timetabling, with deadlines coming at different times for each subject thereafter due to when lessons fall. However, we would advise that all students follow the guidance for undertaking homework on any given evening as below, which is based upon significant investigation and research into homework by Duke University in the USA:
|Year group||Maximum amount of advised time on homework in any evening|
Absolutely no pupil – including at Sixth Form level – should do more than two hours of homework a night regularly. Sixth Formers should of course utilise their free periods for further study when not in directly-taught lessons in addition to this homework time guidance as above though.
If any pupil is struggling to complete homework for whatever reason, they should approach their teacher to highlight the situation and seek guidance and an extension where necessary. If a pupil is having broader troubles with completing homework, Study Support help is available for any pupil with generic, study skills queries. Please contact Learning Support for more information about this help. Form Tutors are also here to support pupils with all academic matters.
We do not set holiday homework for Years 7 – 10 and try to limit this if work is set for Years 11 – 13. Homework will be set as normal in the last weeks of terms which should be completed as normal. But this is not holiday homework per se, and we certainly do not set ‘filler’ homeworks purely if the pupils are on holiday.
Assessment allows the opportunity for feedback and further development for the future. Assessment and then feedback can take a variety of forms, including:
- Assessment for future learning – often called formative assessment. This will generally include comments and guidance for future improvement
- Assessment of learning – often called summative assessment. This will generally include a number, percentage or Although summative assessment is generally about providing a yardstick – of where a pupil is – it is also of course formative, providing guidance for future learning too
- Where a grade or mark is given, we generally do not provide extensive written feedback
- Feedback can be written, verbal, delivered by the teacher but also from self-reflection and self- assessment, peer assessment, group / class assessment and through online resources that assess pupil work. Self- and peer- assessment have been shown to be as effective as teacher assessment, and we encourage a range of assessment deliveries
- It is important to note that marking and feedback are two different things. Books can have lots of teacher annotation, but maybe limited feedback of real use that has been absorbed by a pupil. Conversely, a book or file might have less teacher annotation, but pupils might have availed of excellent feedback individually, verbally in class and the Essentially, not all feedback can be seen and recorded in a book or file
- Feedback is a two-way process: it is not intended to be a one-way stream from teacher to pupil. The best feedback initiates a discussion and engagement for future learning that is personal and individualised
- Feedback is formally provided to parents and carers too via reports and parents’ evenings, as well as at other times across the year
As the above hopefully shows, assessment, homework and feedback are multi-faceted, dynamic and moving enterprises in the twenty-first century. It is important for all stakeholders to appreciate that learning and education have evolved significantly over the last decades, and the experience that parents or carers might have had at school themselves is now likely to be radically different to what the students at Loughborough High School experience.