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WHY ASSESS Powered By Docstoc
					                     PINELANDS NORTH PRIMARY SCHOOL

                                ASSESSMENT POLICY

Why assess?

Assessment is undertaken to decide what a pupil can and cannot do so that the learning
process can be adapted to suit the needs of the pupil.

Assessment then is

      a teaching tool
      purposeful
      continuous
      to check on success
      to determine weakness
      to gather data
      diagnostic
      to reflect
      to be accountable
      to motivate
      to affirm
      to guide
      to determine potential
      transparent
      geared towards the individual.

Aims of continuous assessment include :

      to provide for a variety of teaching, learning and response styles
      to achieve a balance between knowledge, skills, concepts and values in the
      to diagnose pupils’ problems and weaknesses as an integral aspect of teaching
      to implement timely interventions and support
      to promote a healthy culture of learning
      to expose what every pupil can do, understand, know and value.

Continuous assessment can be based on :

      co-operative and groupwork activities
      practical work
      formative testing (on a larger or smaller scale)
      oral work
      assignments
      modules
      research
      formal and informal written work
      creative work
      communicative skills
      observing and interviewing pupils
      models and experiments
      rubrics
      student logs or journals
      demonstrations/performances
      laboratory work
      portfolios.

Who does the assessing ?

      self
      peers
      groups
      teachers
      external examiners.

Types of assessment

      Formative
       This provides feedback to pupils and staff, helping them to identify specific
       learning needs to plan for improvement of learning and instruction. This usually
       happens before pupils have had opportunities to learn content or develop skills.
      Diagnostic
       This form of assessment probes the underlying causes of pupil learning
       difficulties to help determine why some experiences are more successful than
       others. It is often used before planning and implementing individual learning
       plans and includes various alternative assessment methods.
      Summative
       Conducted at the end of a section of work, summative assessment focuses on
       skills, knowledge, attitudes and values gained during the teaching process and
       assesses the pupils against the learning outcomes.    This assessment results in
       codes or/and marks.

Quality assurance

As staff, we need to

      monitor learning daily
      provide varied and many opportunities for pupils to practice and achieve a level
       of skills
      have high expectations of every pupil
      keep an updated, ongoing and meaningful record of every pupil’s progress
      communicate regularly with parents, frankly and openly
      have intervention plans for pupils who are really struggling or who are advancing
       very rapidly
      develop the potential of all our pupils so that no child is labelled or kept at a
       lower level
      identify pupils at risk as soon as possible so that intervention can take place
      use assessments to differentiate our teaching to meet the varied needs of our


A learning profile is a record of how observers have seen a pupil across a range of

Every pupil has to have one and these are kept in class boxes in the strong room.

These are started in Grade 1 and move schools with pupils – transfer forms are given to
leaving pupils and these are used to request this profile from the previous school.

This is a full, confidential record for the use of teaching staff – parents may see parts
for discussion but may not see the full profile.
Pupils ‘ profiles will be moved from one school to the next at the request of the principal
of the next school. This should be done within three months of the pupil’s admittance.
All class teachers are responsible for updating the required information at the end of
each year of when the pupil moves to another school.

What this profile should contain :

   1. Cumulative record card
   2. Pupil’s medical records
   3. Copies of pre-school reports
   4. Pupil achievement records
   5. Observation sheets
   6. At the end of the year ( or when a pupil moves from one teacher to another)
      teachers need to write brief notes which focus on the pupil’s social/emotional/
      intellectual and physical needs/strengths OR
      teachers may file their download sheet which contains all relevant information
      about the pupil ( observations/parent conferences/recommendations)
   7. Records of parent meetings and the outcomes
   8. Absenteeism if appropriate
   9. Evidence of the support provided
   10. Motivation to retain a pupil in a grade if appropriate.


      Every pupil at PNPS must have a portfolio.          These are stored in the filing
       cabinet in the strong room or in individual classrooms.
      Teaching staff also need a portfolio containing the following:
      1. all documents related to assessment
      2. an indication of the L.O’s and AS’s in each task
      Teachers’ portfolios should be available for moderation by principal.
       See Departmental requirements for each phase in addenda. In grade 7 these
       need to be internally moderated.

What a portfolio is :

It is a purposeful collection of pupil work, collected according to which tells a story of
the pupil’s progress towards the outcomes. They contain a collection of tasks typical of

a normal classroom, reflecting multiple activities and should include task descriptions,
assessment criteria and results.

Portfolios help develop pupil reflection and can help emphasise both product and
process. Pupils should be given opportunities to review their portfolios at least once
every term. Cross reading of portfolios is a useful tool for pupils to assess themselves
and get good ideas for future work. At the end of a phase (Grade 3, Grade 6 and Grade
7) pupils’ portfolios need to be available for moderation purposes.
A minimum of three pieces of the latest/best work per LA, from three different
sources (tests, homework, projects, group work, formal/informal evaluations) needs to
be collected.    Every LA needs to be represented.
Portfolios need to move with a child to the next school so that the receiving teacher can
assess prior learning.

Education Support Team

This team meets on Monday mornings during assembly time and the committee consists
of :          Sharon James (head of EST)
              Erica Anderson ( learning support teacher)
              Shamla Sewpaul
              Shereen Stadler
              WCED clinic staff

Should a teacher identify a child with a barrier to learning or a child needing
enrichment, the following process is then followed :

            -   A meeting time is booked on the staff room notice board
            -   Teacher meets with EST team and discusses case
            -   Previous history of child taken into account
            -   Ideas for support are given and minutes taken of the meeting
            -   Class teacher gets co-operation of the parents if eyes/ears need to be
                checked or OT, physio, remedial, enrichment, ADD assessment needed or
                Kumon maths/English suggestion
            -   Class teacher completes information form on child for assessment by the
                learning support teacher
            -   A follow-up meeting with parents and principal is held
            -   Further support suggested if necessary
            -   School clinic intervention if necessary

Please note :

The learning support teacher has a list of professional people in the area should parents
require specialist services.
A termly report back meeting is held between the EST head and the learning support
The child’s learning support assessment and the record of the support given must be
filed in the child’s profile.

Pupils who are at risk

As our school moves towards inclusivity, teachers will need to meet the needs of pupils
with barriers to learning and pupils who have behaviour, physical or intellectual
exceptionalities. We need to provide all our pupils with many opportunities to measure
what they can do instead of their ability to read, write and take tests.

Teachers must

            -   identify these children as early as possible in the year
            -   initiate contact with parents and be frank about situation
            -   provide support programmes for parents to do at home
            -   keep ongoing contact
            -   refer child to EST group
            -   keep a full ongoing record.

Pupils with special needs

Should the EST team decide, after consultation or on enrolment, that a pupil requires
special handling, then an individual education programme will be drawn up for this child.

This programme will identify the special needs of the child and the specific outcomes
which the parent, staff and pupil will work towards and this will be reviewed twice a
year.   It will also include any special arrangements that need to be made for this pupil.
Examples of modification that can be made to teaching and evaluations/assessments are:

       read instructions orally
       rephrase oral instructions if needed
       be assisted by teacher aide to scribe for them
       ask pupils to repeat directions to make sure they understand
       monitor carefully to make sure pupils understand directions for the test
       provide alternative evaluations e.g. use of tapes
       provide a clock so that pupils can monitor themselves
       give examples of each type of question
       leave enough space for answers
       use white paper rather than coloured
       do not crowd or clutter the test
       use visual demonstrations
       go from concrete to abstract
       give choices
       don’t deduct from spelling or grammar
       enlarge comprehensions as big writing looks easier
       use take-home tests
       use notes or text books during tests
       allow pupils to write down key formulas before the test
       provide manipulative experiences whenever possible
       include visuals like graphic organisers
       give specific point values for each question
       list criteria for essay questions
       provide immediate feedback on tests

         allow pupils to correct mistakes and retake tests to improve scores
         allow pupils to attend lessons in a different grade, more suited to ability level.


Formal tests ,as part of continuous assessment, are written from Grade 4 to Grade 7.
At least once a month, evaluations take place across the school.

Parents are asked to sign all tests after they have been marked so that they are
continually aware of their children’s progress.

Grade 6&7 summative tests

These are done during early June and at the end of November every year.

Papers -
These are set for each LA by one teacher within the grade. The content of the test
needs to be decided upon jointly, however. Papers need to be set and typed a week
before the paper is written(see dates in the term programme). These are then given to
the principal for moderation. Moderated papers are duplicated and stored in the strong
room until the time that they are needed.

Papers written during this assessment
           - English : language and comprehension
           - Afrikaans : taal and begrip
           - Mathematics : Paper 1 (mental ability)
           - Mathematics : Paper 2 (problem solving and calculator work)
           - Xhosa
           - History and Geography (two separate papers)
           - Natural Science
           - EMS


The papers are marked by the teacher who teaches the specific class. After marking,
scripts are ranked from best to worst, class and grade averages are established and
then the scripts are given to the principal for moderation. Papers are then returned to
class teachers and discussed with classes involved. Papers can be handed back to pupils
after the June assessments.         Papers are not handed back to pupils after the
December evaluations. The scripts are bound and stored in the strong room for a year.

Recording marks

The compilation of promotion marks must be clear to parents and to pupils.

Marks can still be used in testing and recording but on reports the overall performance
in a LA should reflect the codes given. Work which is evaluated throughout the year can
also be coded or assigned marks. Results should be moderated across the grade
before marks/codes are recorded so that a consistent standard is achieved across
the grade.

At PNPS, each phase will use, the number of formal assessments as set out in the
National Policy on Assessment and Qualifications, as a guide.We will follow our
assessments as set out in the assessment programme completed by each grade or
subject teacher.
Marks are to be captured on the various subject mark lists. Both class teachers must
sit together to check the codes and percentages and moderate these results. Teachers
will then append their signatures to each of mark lists and then make sure that they
check the schedules. These mark lists must then be handed to the HOD’s.
All 4 reports will contain an overall code for each learning area as well as comments to
provide more information on the strengths and developmental needs of each pupil
At PNPS we generally like to adhere to the following way of commenting:
      An area of strength
      Developmental needs
      A positive solution
Term 1:
A report giving parents an idea of the adjustment to the new grade/or school will include
attitude to homework, responsibility etc. as well as codes for each of the learning areas.
(no reporting on outcomes for this term) Reports to go out in the last school week of
the term.

Term 2:
A full report including learning outcomes for each learning area as well as comments on
pupils’ performance against assessment standards. Reports to go to parents/guardian in
the last week of June.

Term 3:
Report on learning outcomes/learning area. Interviews to take place in the third week of
August. All pupils will be given reports in the third week of August but we will only have
interviews scheduled with parents who teachers need to see,or parents who want to
meet with the teacher.

Term 4:
The same format of report as Term 1, i.e. Codes for LA’s only and not for learning
outcomes. Reports will go home on the last day of the term.

Reports are to be returned after each term.

Photocopies of all the reports need to be filed in the pupils’ profiles as an academic

Departmental requirements – see addenda for each phase.


Schedules are drawn up each term. These need to be completed in black ink. The
completed , signed mark lists with the schedules, will be handed to the HOD’s, who will
in turn check all the information before handed it to Mr Nefdt. It will be stored in the
strong room. The December schedules are taken to a promotions meeting by the
principal where they are discussed and signed by the circuit manager. Photocopies of

these schedules are then sent to the CM for record keeping at the EMDC.       See
attached schedules.


Although most children will continue with their age cohort, our school does not advocate
automatic progression from grade to grade – every child’s particular needs will be
addressed and our procedure for repeating pupils followed. See appended policy.

Grade 1 – 3 decisions on promotability are made predominantly on performance in
numeracy and literacy.

Grade 4 to 7 – if a pupil is assessed as a one or two on scored assessment criteria in
most LA’s then this is a good indication of the need for this pupil to remain in the grade.

If a pupil has missed more than 50 days of school in any year for no ascertainable
reason, the pupil should remain in the grade.

No pupil should remain in any phase for longer than four years unless under extreme

                               :       Grade R – 3
                                       Grade 4 – 6
                                       Grade 7 – 9

Grand totals or aggregates may not be used when considering the promotability of a

When considering whether a pupil should repeat the grade, the PNPS policy on these
procedures must be followed to show proof of all interventions that have been put in
place during the year. See appendix.

Pupils may be accelerated to the following grade at any time in a year with the approval
of the circuit manager. Caution should be exercised, however, because few pupils are
able to handle this emotionally and socially, if any.

Supervision of pupils’ academic progress

By principal –
Staff are requested to send pupils with good work, or those who need to be motivated,
to the principal at any time for good work stamps. Pupils with particularly good work
or who have been to the principal a few times can also have letters sent to their parents
commending them on the good job they have done with their children.

In addition, each grade asks their pupils to choose their best work for the principal to
see twice a year.

By learning area heads –
Twice a year (January to June and July to December) learning area heads will ask
teachers to send them examples of the work that their children have covered so that
they can check the level of progress, the uniformity throughout the school and the
progress from grade to grade.
Merit system

PNPS has a weekly merit system whereby four children in each class are recognised for
a positive achievement during the past week e.g. worked exceptionally well, improved
some skill or generally worked hard. The names and the school house are entered on a
prepared merit sheet by the class teacher on a Thursday.

These sheets are then handed to the member of staff responsible for merit points who
enters the information in the merit book, and five points are allocated against each
name. (These weekly points are totalled each term and for the year.)

The names are read out at assembly on Monday morning.       As the names are read out,
the pupils stand up. The total for each house is given and displayed on the merit board
in the hall.

The children are told of the reason for earning the merit badge, in the classroom after
assembly.    The badges are worn for the rest of the week and collected on Friday,
ready for distribution on Monday again.

Merit trophies

Merit trophies and certificates are given out once or twice a term depending on its
length.   Class teachers and subject heads choose to whom certificates should go and
for what reason. Reasons could be as varied as - working enthusiastically in a subject,
behaving beautifully, a great improvement in work or excellent work.

Academic scrolls are awarded to grade 6 and 7 pupils who achieve 80% or more. These
scrolls are awarded at the final end –of- year assembly.

Awards ceremonies

       Foundation Phase award ceremony

       All children receive a certificate at the end of the year to reinforce, positively,
       the effort they have put in during the year.

       These certificates can be given for –
           Valuable team member
           Responsible attitude to his/her work
           Progress and perseverance
           Good communication skills
           Excellence in mathematics
           Good organisational skills
           Outstanding academic achievement

       Sports and culture award is awarded to the pupil who has shown enthusiasm,
       perseverance and skill in his/her activity. He/she has displayed a positive
       attitude at all times.

       Ubuntu Award is awarded to a pupil who has been a shining example of community
       spirit.   A teddy bear is presented in recognition of 100 years of teddy bears
       and celebrates our diversity and differences.    This bear is kept by the pupil
       for the year.
      Senior & Intermediate Phase awards evening

      Merit certificates are awarded to a maximum of 5 children who have shown
      improvement throughout the year.

      A Performance certificate is awarded to the top pupil in each class, recognising
      their achievements.

      Trophies are awarded mostly to Grade 7 pupils, but Grade 4 – 6 pupils may be
      considered, for sport, culture and academic.    Vouchers and books are also
      awarded in this category.

      Jubilee Fund Bursary is awarded to a deserving pupil for one year, in the
      categories of sport, culture or academic.

      Ubuntu Award is awarded to a pupil who has been a shining example of community
      spirit.    A teddy bear is presented in recognition of 100 years of teddy bears
      (2002) and celebrates our diversity and differences.    This bear is kept by the
      pupil for the year.

August 2001
Updated November 2007


                              Assessment Programme

January      Baseline assessment within class.

February     Learning Area meetings to decide on assessment for the year.
             Portfolios prepared. Staff assessment meeting. EST meetings held
             with class teachers re pupils at risk.

March        Assessment files handed in. Record books prepared. First term report
             completed, sent out for all grades. Staff and pupil portfolios updated.
             PTA meeting – explanation to parents re NCS. Learning area meetings.
             EST meetings held with class teachers re pupils at risk.

April        Pupil workbooks to AM. Phase meetings for standard setting. Learning
             area meetings. EST meetings held with class teachers re pupils at risk.

May          Pupil workbooks to AM.    Subject teachers to give class teachers codes.
             Grade 7 assessment papers moderated by AM. FP/IP/SP summative
             assessments : completed and moderated. Learning area meetings. EST
             meetings held with class teachers re pupils at risk.

June         School in Action Day. Pupil workbooks to AM. Reports completed.
             Staff and pupil portfolios updated. All pupils at risk identified.
             Assessment files handed in. LA heads to see all workbooks once by now.
             Learning area meetings. EST meetings held with class teachers re pupils
             at risk.

July         Phase meetings for standard setting. Pupil workbooks to AM. Learning
             area meetings. EST meetings held with class teachers re pupils at risk.

August       Pupil workbooks to AM. Learning area meetings. TST meetings held
             with class teachers re pupils at risk. Add interviews with necessary
             parents in first week of August.

September    Staff and pupil portfolios updated. Assessment files handed in. Pupil
             workbooks to AM. All pupils assessed in all learning areas. Learning
             area meetings. TST meetings held with class teachers re pupils at risk.

October      Phase meetings for standard setting. Grade 7 assessment papers
             moderated by AM. Learning area meetings. EST meetings held with
             class teachers re pupils at risk. Parents informed of MTN and letters
             signed by them.

November     Subject teachers to give class teachers codes. FP/IP/SP summative
             assessments : completed and moderated. Reports prepared. Learning
             area meetings. EST meetings held with class teachers re pupils at risk.
             Parents informed of MTN and letters signed by them.

December     LA heads to have seen all books a second time. Staff and pupil
             portfolios updated. Assessment files handed in. Reports handed out.
             Learning area meetings.
                             PINELANDS NORTH PRIMARY SCHOOL


Progression with others of the same age cohort is to be treated extremely seriously and
is generally the preferred option. However, the national policy does allow some leeway.
Below are the WCED implementation steps for pupils classified as needing to spend a full
additional year in a grade.

1.    Evidence required on each pupil before decision or recommendation can be made :
          1. 1   Attendance record
         1.2     Birth date (to help clarify position with regard to age cohort)
         1.3     Portfolio containing examples of latest and best work in terms of the
                 three Foundation Phase learning programmes
         1.4      Pupil profile with comments from teachers
         1.5      Records supplied by teacher of the interventions made during the
                 course of the year to support learning

2.       In cases where there is doubt, then the pupil should be available to be
         interviewed as required.

3.       At parent interviews in May - mention of concerns over pupil should be made to
         parents and the record page signed by all parties.

4.       During the third term the EST team should meet to discuss all possible repeat
         pupils. The school will then fax a list of possible repeat pupils to the clinic.

5..      Depending on the advice from the clinic personnel, a meeting needs to be set up
         during October, with the guardians/parents of each pupil.

6.       The parents/guardians and the learning support team representatives will meet
         to settle on the best solution for the pupil.        WCED representatives will be
         available to be called on if necessary.

7.       An agreement about the type of support needed must be made and a specific and
         relevant plan for the support of the pupil in the new year should be mapped out.
         This ongoing support must be planned in conjunction with the guardians/parents.

8.       After all of the above steps have been taken and the decisions documented, the
         final decision will be ratified by the circuit manager. ALL the evidence defined
         under 1 (above) as well as a report/minutes of all the steps in 2-5 MUST be
         made available to the Circuit Manager.

         Note : We must guard against having a large number of pupils spending more
                time in Grade 3. Identification of pupils who experience difficulties
                 must take place far sooner than this.

School procedure in addition to the above

Two interviews with parents - first one by June with class teacher.          Notes to be
taken. Second interview to be formal and EST team should be involved. Both parents
should be present and classwork shown to verify decision.     This should be in early
October.   It is very important that parents sign the consent form at the meeting or
within two days of the meeting.

Parents must be made to understand that repeating isn’t a choice they make – they
choose to support the school’s decision, or not.

Procedure for appeal

Stakeholders are made aware of their right to appeal should they have a problem with
their child being retained or have any queries regarding final codes. Staff are advised to
keep all evidence of their assessments until January of the following year.

January 2000
Updated November 2007


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