We define assessment at the school as the process of obtaining, analysing and utilising information for use by both students and teachers to facilitate the planning, reviewing and implementation of learning. Assessment is an integral part of our curriculum delivery and should be seen as “assessment for learning” rather than just “assessment of learning”.
As such, we gather a wealth of information throughout a young person’s stay at the hospital. This begins from the pre-admission report, and moves forward through the admissions process. Information is gathered from home schools and other sources such as EHC Plans or reports from professionals such as Educational Psychologists. Baseline assessments are also gathered to ascertain a young person’s starting point so progress can be measured and quantifiable targets can be set. An Individual Learning Plan is formed with appropriate yet challenging targets which may include more holistic needs such as attendance to school, this is reviewed regularly and summarised at the point of discharge.
We compile weekly reports for all students in an accessible and user-friendly format. This summarises educational progress and events as well as detailing the objectives and outcomes of every lesson attended. The report will also indicate a student’s attendance and wellbeing with the Mental Health Function in Education score. We also summarise any information, advice and guidance given that week in terms of careers and future study.
Assessment – Good Principles
The school also contributes to the hospital-led CPA (Care Planning Approach) reporting cycle which takes place approximately every six weeks. This report provides more detail into a student’s educational achievement and future plans. Students are involved in the creation of this report and have the opportunity to reflect on their progress and give feedback on the teaching and learning that has taken place. Due to the transitory nature of our students, we do not provide one annual report at the end of each academic year.
We also recognise our statutory duties in reporting and in conjunction with the home school and LEA, are happy to facilitate annual reviews for those with EHCs and PEPs for children who are in the care of their local authority.
Assessment – In Practice
All staff work within the school’s assessment policy using verbal feedback and constructive marking to help raise standards. This method is used to achieve the most useful and powerful record of achievement. Teachers review if the individual students’ daily learning objectives and outcomes are completed. This review then formulates the next cycle of planning, an effective method for ensuring that the students are aware of their own progress and how they can improve.
Within our school, we believe feedback and marking should be shared with both adults and students. This helps to create a dialogue between students and teaching staff. It also ensures continuity for the student throughout their education and keeps their learning, as far as possible, the same as they would expect in their mainstream schools. By sharing we can highlight areas of students’ achievements and development to inform future planning and raise the achievement and self-esteem of students by providing them with prompt, regular feedback about their work.
Regardless of the type of assessment used, students should feel that their work is valued, positive, constructive and duly acknowledged using the school’s rewards system.