Formative assessment is the most important assessment that takes place at La Fontaine. Teachers assess the progress of each child on a day-to-day basis and decide what the next steps in learning are based on this assessment. Effective formative assessment ensures that teaching is responsive to the needs of the class.
Quizzing is an important element of formative assessment. At La Fontaine, teachers use regular low-stakes quizzes to identify how well children have retained what they have been taught. Regular repetition of these quizzes also helps with learning the tested material, as recall boosts retention in the long-term memory.
Statutory testing is carried out as required by the Department for Education. All children in Years 1 – 6 complete summative assessments in English and maths at intervals in the year, as directed by the La Fontaine Senior Leadership Team and the STEP Academy Trust. Teachers also make professional judgments on children’s attainment and progress.
At La Fontaine Academy, we recognise the importance of feedback as part of the teaching and learning cycle and aim to maximise the effectiveness of its use in practice. It is important to distinguish between feedback and marking, as the two are often confused.
Feedback can take many forms in the classroom, be it written notation in children’s books or constructive verbal feedback. Marking refers to the written marks and comments from a teacher in a pupil’s book - there is remarkably little high quality, relevant research evidence to suggest that detailed or extensive marking has any significant impact on pupils’ learning.
With this in mind, we focus on purposeful and effective feedback, at the point of learning, which enables children to make progress and supports them in their ability to work independently. As a school, we place considerable emphasis on the provision of immediate feedback where possible. Where notation in books is used, this is to provide a form of guidance and scaffolding to enable ‘live’ independent improvement. As such, there is no expectation of written comments from teachers in children’s books.
Our policy is underpinned by evidence of best practice from the Education Endowment Foundation and other expert organisations.
Feedback - key principles
At La Fontaine, we believe effective feedback should be:
Within these principles, our aim is to make use of best practice approaches to ensure that children are provided with timely and purposeful feedback that furthers their learning, and that teachers are able to gather feedback and assessments that enable them to adjust their teaching both within and across a sequence of lessons.
We acknowledge that the feedback that works best might differ across subjects and age groups. Hence, we do not prescribe one specific type of feedback over another. What is essential is that feedback is used to help pupils improve their work and make progress; this should be evident even where written feedback is not.
Research shows that the most effective feedback for driving improvement and learning is that which happens at the point of teaching; this is where the majority of feedback happens at La Fontaine. We give a mixture of individual, group and whole class feedback.
Where feedback is based on a review of completed work, the focus will be on informing future lesson planning for teachers.
At La Fontaine, these forms of feedback can be seen in the following practices:
• Takes place in lessons with specific groups of children
• Targets groups of children with similar misconceptions
Where written feedback or annotations are appropriate, the intention is that minimum teacher time should lead to maximum outcomes. One way in which we achieve this is through the use of our written feedback prompts, which are used at the point of learning, in class. These provide clear scaffolding and guidance for children to evaluate and improve their work independently. The meaning of the core prompts is set out below, although some additional age-appropriate elements may be included in some phases of the school and at the teacher’s discretion.
*Note: spellings will be corrected verbally in line with our phonics approach. Where appropriate, sound-spelling correspondences will be written in the margin to help children correct the spelling.
|P||Punctuation omission or misuse|
|^||Missing word or letter|
|?||Check for sense/meaning|
|Ο||Check (e.g. circle around a digit in a calculation)|
|P||Good example of application of learning|
Where possible annotations should be made in the margin
Meetings are held each term between class teachers and members of the Senior Leadership Team to highlight children not on target to hit end of year expectations and formulate a support plan.
If these plans need to involve the inclusion team, an IEP meeting will be held with the class teacher and SENDCo.