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Nishkam West London Primary Phase Approach to Assessment

Quality assessment relies on the fact that the curriculum is thoroughly understood, appropriately constructed and planned; judicious testing will provide information about a pupil’s journey through the curriculum and support teachers to tailor teaching, interventions and future assessments.


  • Assessments therefore need to measure progress through the taught curriculum
  • Where possible, assessments are common across a cohort and between Nishkam schools
  • Assessments need to build to cumulative examinations at the end of a year, so that students are able to recall knowledge, facts, concepts, practise and apply skills from across the curriculum they have been taught, rather than simply the last unit
  • Progress is measured from prior attainment; the trajectory of progress goes from milestone to milestone: EYFS to KS1, KS1 to KS2
  • Common assessments are used to provide an indication of progress and attainment in between the aforementioned milestones
  • Common assessments are also reviewed diagnostically to inform planning, teaching and future assessments.

Dame Alison Peacock: ‘There are three key pillars of education: pedagogy, curriculum and assessment…Great assessment enables both children and teachers to understand what has been learnt and identifies specific areas where misconceptions have occurred or where more practice is needed. Assessment that is used formatively, actively informs pedagogy.’

Low stakes vs high stakes assessments
Testing is the most secure way of measuring a student’s progress. A curriculum planned well contains a variety of different assessments to measure learner’s progress through the curriculum. Assessments can diagnose what learners can and can’t do and therefore, crucially, informs future planning and teaching. The cycle between assessment, planning and teaching is a crucial component in ensuring effective lessons and learning. Pupils are part of this process and will be encouraged to respond to feedback.

All teaching staff:

  • have a secure overview of the starting points (including prior attainment), progress and context of all students
  • ensure marking is primarily formative using the school model to identify what has been achieved - ‘You can, you are not yet able to...’ - with clear, precise and actionable targets given to help students to make further progress
  • regularly give feedback; students should receive regular written and verbal feedback to help them reflect on and understand their achievements and areas to work on
  • engage in learning dialogues with students as it is crucial to involve learners in their own learning and development
  • allow and build in time for students to respond to feedback given
  • deliver, mark and feedback on a key assessment task once per term to help the student and teacher gauge what has and has not been learnt and understood. The nature and type of assessment will be dependent on the subject and place within the curriculum plan
  • implement the marking codes as well as the school’s feedback model in all lessons
  • plan in regular knowledge reviews where relevant