Policy on Assessment
This policy was originally drafted in November 2009 during a school planning day using the expertise of the School Development Planning Service facilitator.
The core of the policy is that all children should experience success at school. This policy endeavours to identify at the earliest possible opportunity, children who may have learning difficulties and put in place a school response to their needs. An effective assessment policy is central to this core objective.
Relationship to School Ethos:
The school adopts a holistic approach to the education and development of each child, the enhancement of teaching processes. An effective Assessment policy identifies early interventions that need to be put in place to ensure that enhancement, increased confidence and raised self esteem is achieved.
Aims and Objectives:
The primary aims/objectives of the policy are;
To facilitate improved pupil learning
To create a procedure for monitoring achievement
To track learning processes which assist the long and short term planning of teachers
To co-ordinate assessment procedures on a school basis involving parents and pupils in managing strengths and weaknesses
This policy is geared towards using assessment to inform planning and identify the needs of all pupils, including the exceptionally gifted so that adequate strategies are put in place early enough to facilitate remediation. These strategies may include pupil self assessment, pupil profiling, two way communication between parents and teachers, modification of teacher programmes and individual education plans.
The school has alternated in recent years between Micra T, Sigma and the Drumcondra profiles. All classes from First class upwards are tested. The tests are usually administered in the last week of May or first week of June by the class teacher. Standard and percentile ranking scores are recorded on the class record template and stored by each individual
teacher with a copy held in the administration office. The SET analyse the results in June for allocation of resources to pupils in September.
The school policy on Psychological Assessment, lists all diagnostic tests used by the school. Such tests are administered by the Learning Support and Resource Teachers following referral by the class teachers in consultation with parents/guardians. The administration of such tests is in keeping with the approach recommended by Circular 02/05 where a staged approach is used by the individual class teachers before recourse to diagnostic testing /psychological assessment. Parents are provided with test results and if a psychological assessment is warranted, parental permission is sought and a consent form is completed. The Principal will facilitate such an assessment happening.
The diagnostic tests used in the school include;
Jackson – Get Reading Right
The screening tests used to identify learning strengths and weaknesses in the school are;
Belfield Infant Assessment Programme
Middle Infant Screening Test (MIST)
SPAR / Parallel Spelling Test
Non Reading Intelligence Test (NRIT)
Sigma T (occasionally)
These tests are administered individually or on a class basis. The MIST and BIAP are administered on a class basis around Easter of each year, while the Aston Index is administered individually by the Learning Support Teacher when deemed appropriate. Screening is used by the school to initiate the staged approach to intervention as per Circular 24/03 and Circular 02/05.
If stages 1 and 2 fail to deliver adequate intervention, the class teacher/Principal will contact the parents for permission to secure a psychological assessment for their child (see Psychological Assessment Policy). An assessment will determine the subsequent level of intervention, be it ‘Learning Support Resource’ hours or an ‘Individual Education Plan’. The most common form of assessment used in our school is teacher observation, teacher designed tests, projects and homework (informal assessment). These informal assessments are at the discretion of individual teachers. Records of teacher-designed tests are kept by the individual teachers and communicated to parents at the Parent-teacher meeting and the school report issued at the end of the school year. Each teacher has discretion as to the format, administration and frequency of in-class testing. The most common types of informal teacher designed testing in our school are math’s tests, spelling tests and quizzes.
Each pupil has a file which is stored in the administration office. This file records standardised test results and end of year reports. This file is passed from teacher to teacher as the child progresses through the system. Procedures are in place to manage sensitive data (see Data Protection Policy).
This policy is considered successful if;
Early identification and intervention is achieved
Clarity is achieved regarding procedures involved in a staged approach
Procedures are clear, with roles and responsibilities defined
The Special Education team have clearly defined roles and objectives
There is efficient transfer of information between teachers
Roles and Responsibilities:
Mainstream Special Education Teachers and the Principal assume shared responsibility. It is the responsibility of the class teacher to set in train staged interventions at class level. At Stage 2, the responsibilities are shared with the Special Education Team. The Principal assumes a primary role at Stage 3 when a Psychological Assessment may be required. Parents have a role at all stages and the lines of communication must be always kept open.
DES Circular 02/05 – 24/03
DES Learning Support Guidelines 2000
Working Together to make a Difference for Children - NEPS