Chapter Six: Key Principles in Assessment
Assessment of capacity and adverse impact on wellbeing further advice
30 Children's rights in additional support for learning are recognised and realised within the rich learning context of curriculum, universal and personal support and assessment. Our schools place learners at the centre. Children gain the purposes of the curriculum, effective contributors, confident individuals, successful learners and responsible citizens. The purposes, also known as the capacities, provide a context for the Getting it Right for Every Child practice model with the child's wellbeing at the heart of good practice. Up to S3, all children are entitled to a broad general education and to experience all the experiences and outcomes up to the Third level. In addition they are entitled to the personal support to enable them to gain as much as possible from the opportunities which Curriculum for Excellence can provide. In a coherent way, teachers carry out assessment that focuses on the application of standards and expectations of each learner's progress and achievement in knowledge and understanding, skills and attributes and capabilities.
Principles of assessment of maturity and understanding of children aged 12-15 years of age in respect of additional support needs in school education in Scotland
31 In carrying out duties and responsibilities staff should give consideration to the following principles:
- Assess using a wide variety of sources
- Provide personal support from an adult who knows the child well
- Ensure active participation of child in realising their rights and secure their wellbeing
- Involve and inform parents
- Quality assure and moderate practice within and across schools
Assess using a wide variety of sources
32 When assessing maturity and understanding and wellbeing, teachers should draw on guidance from Building the Curriculum 5: a framework for assessment, the experiences and outcomes of the broad general education and the Benchmarks documents. In particular they will be interested in a child's development and achievement towards attaining beyond the Second level particularly in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. By the end of P7, most children will be attaining at or beyond Second level progressing and developing in line with national expectations. This will enable teachers to provide a robust and credible assessment of children's and young people's achievements in literacy and numeracy at all stages of their broad general education.
33 Evidence of progress and achievement will come from a variety of sources including:
- observing day-to-day learning within the classroom or working area;
- observation and feedback from learning activities that takes place in other environments, for example, outdoors, on work placements;
- coursework, including tests;
- learning conversations; and
- planned periodic holistic assessment.
34 Learning in health and wellbeing ensures that children and young people develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, attributes and capabilities which they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing now and in the future. Wellbeing is one of the key outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence. Assessment in health and wellbeing has to take account of the breadth and purpose of the wide range of learning experiences of children and young people in this curriculum area.
35 Children's progress and achievement in many aspects of health and wellbeing will depend upon the stage of growth, development and maturity of the individual, upon social issues and upon the community context. From the early years through to the senior stages, children's and young people's progress will be seen in how well they are developing and applying their knowledge, understanding and skills in, for example, key features of healthy living and relationships and in approaches to personal planning, assessing risk and decision making.
36 Assessment in health and wellbeing should also link with other areas of the curriculum, within and beyond the classroom, offering children and young people opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in more complex, demanding or unfamiliar learning or social contexts.
Provide personal support by an adult who knows the child well
37 All children and young people are entitled to personal support from a key adult who knows them well to enable them to gain from all the opportunities Curriculum for Excellence has to offer.
38 Children and young people are entitled to personal support to enable them to:
- review their learning and plan for next steps
- gain access to learning activities which will meet their needs
- plan for opportunities for personal achievement
- prepare for changes and choices and be supported through changes and choices and
- be supported by schools working with partners
39 All children and young people should have frequent and regular opportunities to discuss their learning with an adult who knows them well and can act as a mentor, helping them to set appropriate goals for the next stages in learning. This provides opportunities to challenge young people's choices, which may be based on stereotypes. At primary stages almost all children aged 12 years or over with additional support needs receive effective personal support from class teachers, support teachers or their headteacher. While at secondary stages, the key adult may be part of a support team made up of pastoral care teachers, support for learning teachers and senior managers.
40 Young people themselves should be at the centre of this planning, as active participants in their learning and development.
41 To ensure that Curriculum for Excellence is a curriculum for all children and young people, it is essential that support is provided to remove barriers that might restrict their access to the curriculum because of their circumstances or short or longer term needs.
Ensure active participation of child in realising their rights and secure their wellbeing
42 Curriculum for Excellence and Getting It Right for Every Child place the child at the centre of purposes of school education and services for children. GIRFEC recognises the rights of children and young people, focuses on developing and supporting wellbeing and builds on the good practice evident in services across Scotland. In order for their progress in wellbeing and successes in gaining the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence children need to be active participants in the learning and development in our schools. Their active participation is just as important in making decisions about identification, assessment and provision for additional support for learning provision. Participation in decisions about their rights will prepare them for choices and changes in school education and beyond into post-school life.
43 Children, who have attained 12 years in school education, being provided with additional support for learning should be further developing their knowledge about rights to additional support and be actively involved in decision-making about the provision of additional support, subject to their maturity and understanding and impact on wellbeing. Children and young people aged 12 years and above should participate in realising their rights to additional support.
Involve and inform parents
44 In terms of best practice regarding parents and assessment the key points are that parents are actively involved in supporting their children's learning.
45 Parents must be fully involved where children and young people need additional support that is detailed in Individualised Educational Programmes ( IEPs) Child's Plans and Coordinated Support Plans ( CSPs). Parents should expect to receive regular information about their children's strengths, progress and achievements and be informed about any gaps in their children's progress and ways that they can help.
46 Parents need to receive information on: how well all learners and particular groups of learners are achieving; the performance of children and young people in the school in relation to expected levels at particular stages in key areas such as literacy and numeracy; and how the school is applying national standards and expectations.
47 Teachers report and notify parents in a variety of ways. Parents get the regular information about their children's strengths, progress and achievements to which they are entitled. They should be informed about any gaps in their children's progress and ways that they can help.
48 It is also important for those children and young people with additional support needs, that reporting achieves an appropriate balance across the breadth of learning, in challenging aspects and the application of learning. Staff should make clear the nature of support being put in place to ensure each and every child and young person makes appropriate progress.
Quality assure and moderate practice within and across schools
49 Education authorities have a responsibility to secure improvement in the quality of school education and to ensure appropriate standards in education.
50 Education authorities are working to:
- support self-evaluation and improvement processes
- sample the quality and consistency of learning, teaching, assessment and achievement in schools within the authority
- ensure that schools have suitable arrangements in place to support teachers' assessments and focus on any action required for improvement
- facilitate local networks and contribute to identifying the focus of moderation and verification activities to ensure fitness for purpose and proportionality, this will include ensuring an appropriate focus on moderation across transitions and involving partners across sectors
- ensure that assessment information is used appropriately to encourage and challenge school staff to reflect on the links between classroom practice and outcomes for children and young people in order to inform planning for improvement.
Avoid over-bureaucratic processes
51 Scottish Government are empowering children in exercising their rights in schools subject to the safeguards of assessments of capacity and wellbeing. Moving forward with this agenda occurs in the light of best practice across Scottish education authorities and schools in Curriculum for Excellence and the GIRFEC practice model. 52 Scottish Government views this extension of rights as becoming part of the day-to-day work of schools. This approach should not lead to increased bureaucracy, a paper filing exercise or checklist approach that increases pressures on staff.
53 Education Scotland reported on tackling bureaucracy and identified the following aspects in emerging practice in reporting and notifying parents. In looking to reduce bureaucracy around reporting and notifying parents schools are adopting practices that include more frequent, shorter reports to parents, rather than one big end-of-session report; more oral reporting to parents at meetings; involvement of children and young people in the reporting process; and increased use of e-communication and social media.
Email: Emily McLean, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House