Assessment For Learning (AFL)
ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING
At The Littlehampton Academy “Assessment for Learning” (AfL) is a driving force to improve student development and outcomes.
What is it?
Even before students arrive at The Littlehampton Academy, our Transition Coordinator is busy visiting Primary Schools finding out as much information about each individual student intending to join us at the Academy. We know what they are able to do, and what they still need to work on before their first day at Secondary School.
This level of assessment of individual successes and needs proves invaluable for teachers at The Littlehampton Academy, who can then plan appropriate work and challenges to enable learning to take place as soon as students come to us. That is the core principle of AfL; knowing and nurturing students through both formative and summative assessment. We use what we know to improve learning.
What does AfL look like in practice?
All students will be assessed formally at various points of the academic year, depending on the year group and the curriculum followed. At KS3, all students sit end of year assessments to help teachers determine progress over time and to inform planning for the following year. At KS4 students will experience mock exams to ensure they are ready for the “real thing” during the summer term of year 11. At KS5 students will also sit mock exams to prepare themselves for end of year exams both in Years 12 and 13.
Parents will receive at least three summative reports of their child’s progress every year, highlighting current progress against expected progress. Reports will also identify how a child could make better progress in each subject studied. Parents will also be invited to meet teachers and tutors each year to discuss their child’s learning.
Formative assessment, unlike summative, will take place constantly. You might be wondering how this is possible! As teachers, we are “assessing” progress throughout every lesson we teach. This occurs through:
- appropriately challenging questioning, both in writing and verbally, and helping students to improve how they shape their answers
- student presentations, and immediate feedback
- quizzes, with immediate feedback
- independent learning tasks (the old notion of homework), with feedback
- self and peer assessment
“show me” boards to evidence progress of the whole class
…and so on!
We are also very keen that students learn HOW to learn at The Littlehampton Academy and take increasing ownership of their own progress. This is vital nowadays when students have to be increasingly independent and problem solvers to not only be successful in their studies, but to grow character by taking risks, being resilient, searching for answers, and not giving up! As such, we adopt a number of strategies at The Littlehampton Academy to enable students to be more successful.
Marking and Feedback
Staff will mark work every 2 to 3 weeks and specifically outline ‘www’ (what went well) and ‘ebi’ (even better if) to ensure students KNOW HOW to improve. They will also often ask a searching question to develop an on-going learning dialogue in work books. The “Green Pen Policy” is where students play their part. They will proof read, adapt, mark, improve work and answer teacher questions in GREEN. This clearly shows the learning journey over time. If a teacher offers verbal feedback in class, the student will make a note of this, again in green, for easy reference.
All students will be given a “flight path” which will be located at the front of their work books / files. They show and remind students and parents of progress being made in individual subjects over time. Students take responsibility for these documents and up-date them every term to show their learning journey.
This simple principle is used by all teachers and students at The Littlehampton Academy. Essentially, before asking a teacher for an answer when facing a challenge, students need to look for 3 alternative sources for their answer (for example, research on a computer, finding answers in a book, discussion with peers, etc…).
Independent LearningRegular Independent Learning tasks will be set each week (previously known as “homework”) to help students problem solve, consolidate learning, master concepts, and prepare for lessons in advance (we call this Flipped Learning). Older students may well be asked to prepare and teach sections of lessons to (we call this Students as Teachers).
What is the impact of AfL?
In a nutshell, students will be able to identify for themselves what they are good at, what they need to do to improve and how to do this. They will be more confident, resilient, resourceful, reflective and successful. They will build character and be able to face and overcome challenges.