Where relationships are at the heart of the school and
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Assessment of Learning -

the Key to Success

Assessment helps teachers determine the level of understanding of each student of each concept/topic. At the Swanage School assessment is not just an end of topic test, when a child is given a grade, rather it is embedded into every lesson, and as a result teachers mold their teaching to ensure each child learns effectively.


What does this look like in class?

  • Spoken answers – the teacher identifies a student to ask rather than asking the class to raise their hands. The teacher will then use open questions such as ‘What makes you think that?’ ‘How did you get to that answer?’ ‘How does that compare to...?’
  • Tests and quizzes – to be effective in formative assessment these are short and frequent.
  • Written answers – using individual mini whiteboards or books
  • Involving students in deciding how their work should be assessed
  • Asking students to evaluate their own work and reflect on their learning - students use red pens to do this
  • Getting students to assess the work of their classmates - students use purple pens to do this


Learning Conversations

How can you help with assessment at home?

At The Swanage School we believe a child’s parents/carers are an integral part of the learning process. We encourage parents to have regular ‘learning conversations’ with their son or daughter.

This is not a ‘nag’, where a parent chases up homework and so on. Rather it is a chance for your child to explain what they have learned and experienced during the school day. It might be that they explain a concept to you or an idea they had during a lesson.

For instance, you might ask: ‘So tell me about your favourite lesson/activity today... What was enjoyable about it?’, ‘What did you learn from it?’, ‘I’ve not heard of that, can you explain it to me?’, ‘That’s interesting, tell me some more...’, ‘Tell me about something you found difficult (and why). Can we work it out together?’


Summative Assessment

What have we learned so far?

All students are formally tested at least once every term – for example with an end-of-unit test, a grade for a piece of project work or a mock exam. Formal mock exams take place prior to all external exams, either in the sports hall or in classrooms. The purpose is not only to monitor the progress and attainment but also to acquaint students with the formal process of taking exams.

Marking students’ work

Teacher assessment is marked in green pen and is often in addition to self-assessment or peer assessment. Students will be made aware of the criteria to achieve certain levels or grades so they can monitor their own progress.

The Swanage School Assessment Framework

All formal assessments are accompanied by an assessment framework. This identifies clearly what is expected for a student to achieve a certain grade. This is a very transparent approach and allows students (and parents) to understand fully what is expected of them and how to do well. All students are graded on the 9 - 1 GCSE scale, in formal assessments.

As parents, you can help by asking your child about their assessments and ask to see the assessment grid (the sheet which shows what is needed for each grade) both before the assessment and afterwards. Look out for the pink and green highlights on your son/daughter's assessment grid:

Green = 'Seen' (things they have shown they can do

Pink = 'Think' (this is something to work on)

We have developed the Assessment Framework by evaluating that a Year 11 grade 9 (for example) students would have been able to achieve in Year 7. That then becomes the grading criteria to achieve grade 8 in Year 7.

GCSE Grading System

In 2016 the GSCE grading system was changed from the old A* to C grade to a new 9-1 scale, where grade 5 is a 'good pass rate' in the same way a 'C' was the good pass grade previously. The purpose of the change was to drive up standards nationally, so whilst grade 5 is a 'pass', it is actually a low'B'/high 'C' grade.

Current  grade

Old grade

9 A* plus
8 A*
7 A
6 high B
5 low B / high C
4 low C/D
3 E
2 F
1 G


All assessments for all students use the GCSE grading system, so for example, a student in Year 7 will be given a GCSE grade. This does not mean that they would achieve that grade if they sat the GCSE that day, rather it means if they continue learning at the same rate until they sit their GCSE in Year 11, that is the most likely grade they will achieve then.