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Learning Ladders

Assessment of the new National Curriculum at Midfield Primary School using Learning Ladders

How is the school assessing children from May 2015 within Learning Ladders?

The progress and attainment of all children at Midfield Primary will be assessed against the new National Curriculum, using the Learning Ladders System. The ladders consist of rungs, which are objectives that meet the New Curriculum. Each rung represents a statement and each statement is allocated to a specific year group in line with the National Curriculum. During the KS1 and KS2 stages of attainment, children enter, develop and then become secure with the rung statements for each year group in turn.

Why did Midfield select Learning Ladders ?

Since September 2014, when the new NC was introduced, we have been researching a range of approaches. We decided that Learning Ladders, underpinned our belief of assessment being an ongoing process which is integral to teaching and learning. We believe Learning Ladders has the potential to impact significantly on the progress and attainment of our children, as they are developing a responsibility for their own learning. In May 2014 Learning Ladders won the DfE’s ‘Assessment Innovation’ competition and Judges commended it as “clear, engaging and accessible for both children and parents”. Learning Ladders has also been developed and implemented by teaching staff at an Outstanding School.

How do the Learning Ladder booklets work?

Within each of the three Learning Ladder booklets (reading, writing and maths), there are ladders. There is one ladder for each key skill/area of the curriculum: For each rung, there are 3 divisions.

The maths key skills come from the new National Curriculum. The reading and writing key skills were created to replace the old Assessment Foci from APP, to provide a way to break down the new national curriculum. The reading Learning Ladders are used primarily in guided reading sessions and the writing and maths Learning Ladders throughout the curriculum.

The key objectives on each rung of each ladder have been selected from the new National Curriculum using professional judgement for our children. They aim to ensure that there is a range of coverage. The rungs are progressive so they start at Year 1 and work up to Year 7. Some Learning Ladders don’t have rungs for every year group. For example, there is no end of Year 6 objective for times tables as these skills should be acquired by the end of Year 4.

It is important to build in time for the children to understand the skill they are working on and allow time for reflection too. Time should also be made for the children to have a ‘live discussion’ to prove to their teachers that they have achieved their target. The children value this more and it makes them feel part of the process.

How will teachers make judgements about progress and attainment?

Children are continually assessed by their teachers throughout the year. When Teachers have evidence that a child has met a particular objective, they show this by ticking off the relevant objective on the Learning Ladders online system. The first tick means that the child has been taught that objective and they are developing an understanding; the second tick means that the child has shown that they can independently apply this skill and the third tick means that they have applied the skill in different contexts. As data for a child is saved onto the online Learning Ladders system, it automatically updates the progress and attainment score for that child. This means that teachers can clearly see the progress and attainment of all children in their class at any given time.

How will this approach support school leaders to ensure that the system of assessment is linked to theschool’s curriculum?

Learning Ladders has been designed as a planning and assessment tool, which helps teachers to use assessment information to support planning and improve pupils’ progress. The system allows teachers to identify pupils’ strengths and misconceptions. This in turn means that teachers can plan lessons which are pitched accurately to meet the needs of the children in their class and because Learning Ladders contain the content of the National Curriculum and refer directly to curriculum year group expectations, the materials enable schools to identify pupils who are falling behind in their learning or who need additional support to reach their full potential, including the most able.

How will leaders ensure the accuracy of assessment through internal and external standardisation and moderation?

A range of standardisation materials are being developed and used to support teachers in informing their assessment of children. Moderation processes for reading, writing and maths take place regularly within year groups, across year groups and whole school. Opportunities to moderate with other Leaning Ladder schools allows for consistency of judgements and also provide a platform for schools to enhance their internal and external moderation activities. Information is regularly shared with governors to ensure that they are in a position to provide appropriate challenge to the school regarding the rigour of assessment processes.

How will this approach support reporting to parents and carers?

The new assessment processes has been shared with parents and carers. As a school, we will need to support parents and carers so that they understand the changes to the assessment information that they receive at the end of the year. The progressive structure of Learning Ladders lends itself to parents and carers understanding how their children are doing in relation to the expected standards. This is because every rung statement is closely linked to the age related expectations in the National Curriculum.