We use a range of assessment methods to monitor and evaluate the progress the boys are making. Assessments are largely formative, meaning they take place during the learning process and are used as an opportunity for pupils to try out their ideas, make mistakes and learn from these. Even when assessing learning at the end of a unit or year (summative assessment) boys will be given time to reflect on their assessment, looking at what has gone well and what could have been even better, before setting targets to keep working on.
We want boys to feel challenged, experience difficulty and sometimes even failure, but learn how to deal with this, not feel demotivated. Ensuring our assessments are appropriate and fit for purpose, supporting boys to make improvements, are an essential part of this.
We believe pupils should not measure their success on achievement alone, but focus on the improvement they themselves have made. Clearly boys need to know if they have met external standards and criteria, however research has shown that to help students learn better and faster, ipsative assessment works best. Ipsative assessment focuses on measuring students’ current performance against their own past performance. If students can focus on the progress they are making this is far more motivating and leads to accelerated learning (Claxton, 2018). We therefore try to encourage ipsative assessment across the curriculum. Our overall goal is to ensure that during their time at The Hall the boys become independent learners who are curious and love learning – equipped with the skills they will need for senior school, university and life beyond.
A wide range of formative and summative assessment activities are carried out regularly including:
• Building on prior learning
• Learning objectives and success criteria (including modelling “what good looks like”)
• Teacher-initiated ongoing assessment from seeing how boys think, work and learn in every lesson, every day
• Marking – a dialogue with boys in their exercise books about what went well and areas to focus upon
• Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time – boys from the Junior School up spend time dedicated to corrections and reflecting on how to improve
• Self-assessment and peer-assessment