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Starting School Assessment


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I have been asked to devise an assessment tool to assess where the children are when they come into reception. xD:(:(

I know that we had baseline assessment and we were all pleased when we no longer had to spend the first seven weeks of the childs school life testing them, so I don't want to make anything like that. :wacko:

However my head wants data that can be used to show value added.... we have had problems from the baseline assessment and children not achieving their predicted SAT results.... so she want something that really looks at their understanding and not only can they do this activity. :(

 

I am aware that we have the FSP but this is used throughout the year and doesn't say what they can do when they start school.

 

So my main question is what do you do when the children start school?- do you have anyway of assessing them to find out what they can do?

 

Confused :o

L

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Our authority asked reception class teachers to assess four strands from the FSP within the first six weeks of children being in school. From memory we had to assess PSE SD, MD NCC, CLL Writing and Speaking and listening. They have collated all the data and will use this for Value Added. But ... if children are moving into and out of schools and therefore the cohort will be different does this not alter the results? Or is it supposed to give a general picture? Anyway .. that's what we did. Hope that helps.

 

Harricroft

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Hi Lorna, this is a difficult one but one that was only waiting to rear its head. Baseline assessment had its faults but also its advantages. Although it was often a demoralising experience for me as our baseline was always low it did give us that valued added perspective across the school and of course gave me important starting points!

I devised an entry profile, based on Baseline tasks to use for my children and tried to then match this to the profile to give me an indication of hwere they were in the first half term. This was very difficult as I was not familiar enough with the profile document at the time. At the same time our assessment coordinator decided to introduce a new tracking system across the school and wanted childrens scores for all literacy and numeracy strands of the profile at half termly intervals. This too was a major headache and Im sure was not intended with the birth of the profile?

This is of course where a Nursery/preschool section of the profile would be so useful. In my LEA we had devised a pre-profile document for just this purpose but at the time I was doing this it was only just in the preschools.

 

So not much help to you. You too must have some method of devising what your children can do, if it is the same for every child will that not be sufficient? If your head wants data then have you looked at the PIPS assessment materials (Durham, I believe), they do of course cost money and the blurb when I last looked was that they would feed into the profile, although my LEA would not authorise its use. What about the other IT tracking systems that are available would they serve a purpose?

 

Whatever you do you will as I am sure you are more than aware need to ensure that it is useful to you as the teacher as well as the head or you will be stuck in a never ending round of assessment. Reception year disappears all too quickly with the profile now!

 

I'd be interested in what you come up with so do keep us posted!

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Out of interest, is it any help to reception teachers for the pre-school to send the child's assessment file on with them? We send ours, but I've never got around to checking if they are helpful or not. Do schools generally prefer their own methods? :)

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Personally, as a Recpetion Class treacher, I prefer to do my own basic assessments and then compare my results with the information that has come from the pre-schools/nurseries.

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This is why my HT has introduced PIVATS as it gives a P level score which can be used to track children's progress up to and through the NC levels using a points system. it isn't ideal but does give an indication. a lot of work tho. We have discussed this before somewhere.

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I thought P scales were for children especially those with special needs in order to show the progress they make at pre level 1 of the National Curriculum. Children in Reception are working towards the early learning goals in the foundation stage profiles which is not strictly part of the National Curriculum levels. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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I have heard that if a child is not working within the FSP by the end of the reception year then the P scales should be used to show their level of attainment.

 

Some interesting discussion here

thank you for all your comments.

 

L

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Now I am really confused xD

I've heard that p scales do not apply to the FSP even for those children who are struggling to reach the ELG's.

 

The situation is as clear as mud to me now! :o

Any clarification or documentation would be very welcome,

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I am confused too! Wasn't there a discussion on P scales in another thread. I seem to remember asking what they were and thought the answer was they were for children with SEN but were similar in content to stepping stones/early learning goals. I seem to remember comments about having to keep two lots of similar records - but can I find the thread I am thinking of - no chance and I have hunted and hunted :o

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P scales are for SEN. A child who has not achieved ELGs will not necessarily be SEN.

I didnt think P scales were appropriate unless SEN was recognised. There is that box "alternative assessment" on the profile but in general I didnt think P scales were appropriate in FS.

I am going to search now for "PIVATS" that jacquie mentions but I dont think we should be equating SEN with FS or ELGs? :o

 

Rea, it is always useful to have the pre-school records. A school that does not pay some regard to them is unwise, although the different learning environments can throw up quite marked differences! I try to let the child settle into their new setting before looking at preschool records so that I am not biased by someone else, change can be for the better! Although with the introduction of home visiting I also found it useful to see the previous records so that I could steer the converstaion if the need was there!

 

I wish the Profile was not concentrated into FS2 as lots of valuable work goes on before that and when the setting changes the workload is increased.

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You are all absolutely right about the p levels, nevertheless that is what we have been told to do by our HT and it is possible to level the children using them. I have lots of issues about using them but i have to do as i am told!!!

It is actually the Lancashire PIVATs that we are using from nursery entry. They are PIVATED each term and progress noted. If you look at the Additional Guidance on the Profile for SEN it matches each statement with the P levels. Most ELGs are about P 8 so that is a W in NC terms. Some ELGs are 1c or b and one number one is a 2b!

Out HT is tracking for value-added and Performance Management

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Susan, I am very pleased to hear that you found the records from the preschool useful as we spend a considerable time producing our Records of Transfer.

 

I also agree that a change of environment may change childrens disposition to learning, but would this also change their basic knowledge and understanding, their skills and abilities?

 

Mousebat, could you liaise with your local preschools to let them know your criteria for initial assessment, they could then have this in mind when they complete their records of transfer.

 

In our county, Kent, we have "cluster groups" being set up where the primary teachers are meeting with local preschool practitioners to discuss and clarify what is the most useful information for teachers to assess the childrens starting points at reception.

 

Peggy

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Peggy

 

We have a lot of communication with the local pre-schools/nurseries and cluster group meetings. I go and spend time with the children in their pre-school settings before they come to school. I have the summer intake of Reception aged children so I get the FSP which have been completed for the Autumn and Spring Term. Trouble is the knowledge of how to fill in the FSP varies widely from pre-school to pre-school. I was also been told by a parent that one practitioner confessed to filling in some of the Early Learning goals just to make their pre-school look good!! One FSP was completely filled in for all three terms, had every box ticked off and yet the child didn't recognise their own name when they came to my class! So that is why I still prefer to do my own assessments to get a more realistic and sometimes more honest view as to what the children are capable of. That is not to say I don't appreciate the stuff that comes from the pre-schools/nurseries. I used work in a pre-school and remember how much work I put in to transfer records.

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I see your point. What a shame some people feel they have to "cheat" at the expense of the child, and the expense of your time.

 

All our children have a record of achievement, a working document available throughout every session, in which comments are made by the staff when a particular skill or learning has taken place.. The keyworker decides whether the evidence proves sound learning or if it needs to be observed again to ensure consolidation has been achieved. It is only then boxes are ticked.

It is this information that is used for future planning.

 

These records of achievements are the basis for our record of transfer docs, they are also given to the parents when the child leaves and the parents are encouraged to share this record with the childs new teacher.

 

Peggy

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Peggy, in answer to your question[ I also agree that a change of environment may change childrens disposition to learning, but would this also change their basic knowledge and understanding, their skills and abilities? ]

surprisingly yes it can do!

I worked in an area where the majority of the children were EAL and a small change in vocab used could make profound differences. Also the children's understanding of phrases and expressions was often widely out.

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I agree susan that a change of environment can be beneficial to progress, purely down to maturity and quality of teaching etc. what I meant ( but didn't make clear) was that the childrens base Knowledge etc would be the same ( or should be as stated on transfer reports)

 

Basically it's trusting the validity of the assessment reports from the preschools, and from some comments this is an area which needs improving, and is what I think the "Cluster groups" are working towards.

 

I personally would find it interesting to know what primary teachers are looking for in the record of transfer documents from the preschools.

 

Peggy

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I have been doing a bit of role-play - well trying to!

 

I have spent too many hours to count writing transfer records for the children in pre-school. I go to great lengths to be accurate and honest and I like to think they are appreciated and of some use to the reception class teacher.

 

I have been trying to put myself in the shoes of a reception teacher and wonder how I would see the records I had sent! I have to be honest and I actually think I would read them thoroughly but at the same time not take them as gospel. I don't think it's a question of not trusting what pre-school staff write but I think we all see children differently. I also think that things clearly evident at pre-school may not necessarily be so in a child's early days in reception.

 

Wearing my 'imaginary reception teacher hat' I would bear the transfer records in mind but make my own assessment too

 

Oh dear does that make any sense at all :o

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Makes sense to me Geraldine. :D I think after reading some of the replies I will talk to R staff and see exactly what info they want. I will provide this and if they dont want everything we usually send then it will cut down on my work load. :D

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we all spend time doing a transfer to school document often in June, ours have to be at the schools by mid July latest at their request- but this is often 9 or 10 weeks before they start. and they all develop so much during those weeks it will always be out of date.

some dislike change so while happy with us will scream at being left at school, we have 3 or 4 that do that after every half term and they know us, (I really do feel for the reception class this year, they are all moving on to the same one, lets hope they mature enough during the next few months!!)

Would love to cut down on the paperwork but ours are supplied by the early years team and a standard form to complete for all settings.

Inge

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Record of achievement - really helpful, I value them a lot.

 

FS Profile filled in by pre-schools not so helpful as I don't use the booklet, & besides I don't think pre-schools shoud be burdened with such aa mass of extra work

 

P-scales. I could feel my blood boiling as I read about people still being expected to use them in YR. They shouldn't be used until after Christmas in Y1, & then only for SEN pupils! Jacquie, I know that if you say you're expected to do them, you obviously are under pressure to do so, but you should take every opportunity you can to complain about the doubled workload, the inappropriacy of the p scales for your children, the sheer pointlessness of the whole exercise!!! We've spent so many years doing crap because someone who doesn't know the 1st thing about young children thinks that will be best (worksheets for 3 year olds??? I ask you!!!) I promise I'm not having a go at you Jacquie, it's just soooo annoying to hear people being subjected to this!

 

Dianne xxx

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I am a reception teacher in a school with a nursery and the nursery send up learning diaries which are divided into the 6 areas of learning with spaces for observations, photographs, pictures/mark-making the children have done etc.

 

They are wonderful - really fun to read because you get a picture of a whole person and very informative because they list all the child's achievements. I much prefer them to what we used to get which was photocopies of the stepping stones with things that had been achieved highlighted.

 

We then carry the learning diaries on in reception and at the end of the year (after the year 1 teachers have read them) they are sent home to parents.

 

Anyway the point of my waffle was that the starting school assessment is done for us by the learning diaries so we don't really feel we have to do much else!

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