Assessment

How do we assess at HGS?

Through our curriculum and assessment practices, we aim to build a love of learning and a drive for success, with students believing there is no limit to what they can achieve when they aspire high and are hard-working, confident learners with real self-belief.

Assessment practices are crucial for successful learning and complement the ongoing teaching and learning practices that exist throughout the year to create and support an effective climate for learning. We are constantly assessing how well our students are working in a variety of ways and these feed into the way lessons are shaped to meet needs in every class across the curriculum. Participation in class activities, contribution to discussion, responses to questioning and classwork in all its forms contribute to this ongoing assessment alongside tests and exams in evidencing progress.

Assessment practices

Students regularly undertake short tests and activities in lessons that are designed to help support the development of their knowledge base, memory and recall skills. They also complete assessments that focus on revisiting work over a longer period of time (e.g. Year 10 tests will include Year 9 work) to help them build their knowledge and skills towards the demands of the final examinations. Teachers use different forms of assessment throughout each year and provide students with feedback in different ways to support their learning and allow them to plan lessons effectively to meet student needs across all years.

In Years 9 through to 13, examination board specifications provide teachers with a framework for assessment as the quality of work produced can be measured against published grade criteria. This means that work across the curriculum will be assessed in line with examination mark schemes and will indicate the student’s current level of ability in each subject. As a result, student assessment marks could cover a wide range, particularly in Years 9 and 12 when they will be in the early stages of a course but will be marked against the final assessment criteria; different subjects develop knowledge and skills in different ways and at different rates. The reporting of CURRENT Attainment Grades (CAG) is therefore done in GCSE and A-level grades but also coloured to show attainment against relative expectation. This means a student may have a range of numerical attainment grades (CAGs) yet all may be in line with expectation (green) dependent upon the subject and the way it is taught.

For each report, students also get a PROJECTED attainment grade (PAG), which will be calculated automatically based on how their result compares to past performance in each subject and examination grade boundaries. As they progress towards their final assessment, the gaps between current and projected grades will narrow to show how much progress they have made in each subject over time.

In years 7 and 8, there are no published grade criteria for each subject. Instead, each subject area has their own criteria for assessing work based on their expectations across the topics covered in each subject. This then translates to a Current Attainment Grade (CAG) against the descriptors below when we gather assessment data for reporting purposes; this is reported as a colour. Years 7 & 8 do not receive target or projected grades.

Current Attainment grade (CAG) descriptors – Years 7 & 8 only

Gold

 

  • The student consistently produces work of the highest quality across a range of activities and assessment opportunities and is operating at the very top of the range expected of students in their age group in this school.
  • They consistently demonstrates a deep level of understanding of all concepts and material covered in the course.
  • They can explain their understanding and knowledge accurately and cogently, using technical terms with precision and demonstrating a wide range of language appropriate to their audience.
  • Communication in written and spoken form is fluent and stylish and perfectly adapted to the demands of the subject.
Silver

 

  • The student routinely produces work of a high quality across the range of activities and assessment opportunities and is operating at the top end of the range expected of students in their age group in this school.
  • They demonstrate a very solid level of understanding of almost all concepts and material covered in the course.
  • They can explain their knowledge and understanding coherently and confidently, using technical terms accurately and with a wide range of language appropriate to their audience.
  • Communication in written and spoken form is fluent and well adapted to the needs of the subject.
Green

 

This is the expected minimum level for all students

 

  • The student generally produces work of a good quality across the range of activities and assessment opportunities and is operating at expectation for students of their age group in this school.
  • They demonstrate a good level of understanding of most of the concepts and material covered in the course.
  • They can explain their knowledge clearly, using most technical terms accurately and explanations are generally appropriate for their audience.
  • Communication in written and spoken form is generally clear and adapted to the needs of the subject.
Amber

 

  • The student can produce work of a good quality but this is inconsistent across the range of activities and assessment opportunities and they are not operating at expectation for students of their age group in this school.
  • They have some gaps in their understanding of the key concepts or material covered in the course.
  • They can sometimes explain aspects of their knowledge clearly and use technical terms correctly, but greater consistency is needed.
  • Explanations can be appropriate to their audience, with some technical terms used accurately but not consistently.
  • Communication in written and spoken form is sometimes clear and adapted to the needs of the subject but this needs some attention/improvement.
Red

 

  • The quality of work produced by the student is not good enough across a range of activities and assessment opportunities. They are operating well below the expectation for students of their age group in this school.
  • They have gaps in their understanding of the key concepts or material covered in the course.
  • They struggle to explain their knowledge clearly and generally do not use technical terms correctly.
  • Explanations are often not appropriate for their audience or lack clarity.
  • Communication in written and spoken form is often not clear or well adapted to the needs of the subject.

Attitude to Learning

In addition to attainment grades, we also assess how well a student is working in terms of their attitude to learning. A positive and committed attitude to learning is crucial for success and we regard a student’s attitude as being as important as their ability.

Students are given an Attitude to Learning (A2L) grade which is allocated according to a set of criteria. These are colour-coded and are on a range: GOLD (top) – SILVER – GREEN – AMBER – RED (bottom). The expectation is that each child achieves a minimum of GREEN but they should always aim to achieve higher. When students fall into amber or red categories, teachers will speak to them and address the reasons for this. They may also contact you to discuss any concerns.

These descriptors are the same across the whole school and are outlined below.

 

Attitude to Learning (A2L) grade descriptors – All Years

Gold
  • The student is enthusiastic and engaged at all times.
  • They ask intelligent and searching questions linked to prior and next steps in learning, participating fully in discussions and building on the responses of others.
  • They display an insightful and conscientious attitude to learning at all times.
  • They treat mistakes as a learning opportunity, love a challenge and never give up when the work is hard, showing high levels of resilience and confidence in learning.
  • They know their own strengths and weaknesses and can effectively evaluate their own learning and respond to feedback as they go.
  • Behaviour in and out of the classroom is exemplary and they are always fully equipped.
  • Homework is always completed to a very high standard and on time, going beyond the task and showing initiative and eagerness to learn. They do additional reading and research around topics and make links between existing and new knowledge
Silver The student has a positive attitude and stays on task very well. They ask intelligent questions and contribute well to discussions, listening carefully to others and articulating their own thoughts clearly.

They display a positive and conscientious attitude to learning almost all the time.

They learn from mistakes and seek help when work is a challenge and demonstrate good levels of resilience leading to improved levels of confidence.

They understand their own strengths and recognise what they need to do to improve further, reflecting on their own learning and acting upon all feedback received.

They lead by example in terms of behaviour in the classroom and beyond. They are always fully equipped for lessons.

Homework is completed to a consistently high standard and is used well to consolidate and practice what they have learned in class, neatly presented and often going beyond the brief provided. They always fully meet the expectations of the task but could extend their independent research around topics to further develop their own knowledge and understanding.

Green

 

This is the expected minimum level for all students

The student usually learns well and gives their full attention to their work, showing active engagement in person and through positive written work. They contribute to discussions, sometimes when prompted, listening to others and articulating ideas clearly.

They have a willingness to succeed and see mistakes as learning opportunities, responding appropriately to the level of challenge, but do not always ask for help when work is hard.

They take feedback well and generally follow advice about what they need to do to improve.

Conduct in the classroom is as expected, showing a good level of politeness and courtesy by considering others in the room. They almost always arrive fully equipped for lessons.

Homework is usually completed on time and to a good standard, using it to practice and consolidate learning from lessons. They can sometimes be fazed by more challenging extended learning and do not always seek help when needed, nor do they often develop independent reading or research.

 

Amber
  • The student can give their full attention to their work at times but is too easily distracted. They may need reminding to stay on task and whilst they contribute appropriately at times to discussions, they rarely speak at length and do not always listen well to others.
  •  They make frequent mistakes and do not check their own work for errors, often not taking enough care to be precise with oral and written language or practical skills, lack self-reflection and so often repeat errors they have made before.
  • They sometimes give up when they find work challenging, showing too little resilience or determination. They do not respond well enough to feedback on how to improve their work, showing an over-reliance on the teacher and/or their peers on what to do next.
  • Behaviour for learning is less than expected and conduct can be distracting to others. They sometimes come to lessons without being fully equipped.
  • Homework is sometimes completed but is sometimes late, rushed and/or unfinished. They do some of what is asked of them but almost never does any independent reading or research to improve their knowledge and understanding.
Red
  • The student rarely gives their full attention to their work and is easily distracted/distracting to others.
  • They sometimes contribute to discussions, often only when prompted, but often fail to listen well to others.
  • They make frequent mistakes and often repeat these over and over as a result of failing to engage with feedback. They express themselves poorly in both spoken and written form and can show limited thought in practical processes/activities.
  • They often give up and fail to complete work that is set, showing no real resilience in their learning, too often ignoring advice given and showing a regular reliance on others with little responsibility for their own learning.
  • Behaviour for learning is poor and needs regular prompts to remind of expectations around conduct. They often arrive without being fully equipped for the lesson.
  • Homework is rarely completed to a good standard and they rarely practise the skills they have learned or consolidate their knowledge. They take little or no responsibility for their own learning and do not do any independent reading or research to improve their knowledge or understanding.