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Assessing Pupils' Progress (APP) overview
APP is a structured approach to in-school assessment which:
- enables teachers to make judgements about their pupils’ attainment, keyed into national standards
- develops and refines teachers’ understanding of progression in their subject
- provides diagnostic information about the strengths and weaknesses of individual pupils and groups of pupils
- enables teachers to track pupils’ progress over time
- informs curriculum planning
- facilitates the setting of meaningful curricular targets that can be shared with pupils and parents
- promotes teaching that’s matched to pupils’ needs
- supports the transfer of meaningful information at key transitional points, e.g. from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3
- is not a 'bolt-on' to existing arrangements. APP is all you need.
For further information about the APP materials and how to use APP to benefit pupils, see the Introduction to APP.
The DCSF has produced a helpful pamphlet, Getting to Grips with Assessing Pupils' Progress, which includes all of the guidance and information displayed in this area of the website.
Access the primary and secondary subject specific APP materials using the links below.
All of the materials to support Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 are available to download from this website. Key Stage 3 APP materials are also being distributed in the spring term of 2009 to all subject leaders who attend LA-organised subject leader meetings. LAs have been asked to order sufficient quantities to allow for two sets of APP Handbooks, Standards Files and Assessment Criteria per secondary school. Contact your LA strategy consultant in the first instance to ensure that you have these materials. Primary APP materials will not be distributed to primary schools but can be accessed from this website.
The January 2009 edition of Secondary Education magazine contains a series of articles on APP, including school case studies.
Periodically consider significant written and oral evidence of a pupil's attainment
Your APP assessments are more likely to be accurate and useful if you have a range of appropriate evidence from each pupil to review – this might be written or oral evidence. Your pupils are likely to have undertaken a variety of activities since their last APP assessment so you need to decide which pieces will be most relevant.
- APP is used to periodically review your pupils' work so you will wish to gather evidence on a termly basis, or whatever fits in with your current school assessment arrangements.
- Use the work that’s already in pupils’ exercise books or portfolios and make use of any ‘sticky notes’ on which you've captured some of their spoken contributions in class. You can also take account of what you or others have seen pupils do in the course of their work. You don’t need to gather weighty collections or portfolios of pupils’ work.
- You won’t need to look back at all of the work a pupil has done since their last APP assessment – just the pieces that you know will provide significant evidence.
- A manageable range of evidence will facilitate the process of ‘scaling up’ to involve all pupils in the APP approach.
- Identifying assessment opportunities in the scheme of work in order to ensure that a broad range of evidence is likely to be available, including work where pupils have demonstrated a significant degree of independence.
- Discussing with colleagues the range of evidence in a small selection of the Standards Files.
Review the evidence using the assessment guidelines
By assessing your pupils’ work against the assessment criteria you will be able to establish a profile of learning for each of your pupils. This also enables you to track their progress over time.
- You are reviewing rather than assessing the work for the first time. Since you have already marked and responded to your pupils’ work, the opportunity to step back at regular intervals enables you to take a broader view of your pupils’ achievements over the whole subject and over a period of time.
- Teachers who have been using APP for more than a year report that the process very quickly becomes easier and less time-consuming as they become familiar with the assessment criteria.
- Using a separate Assessment Guidelines sheet for each pupil will help you to track individuals' progress over time.
- Highlighting the criteria pupils have met across a range of evidence provides a visual picture of their strengths as well as gaps in their learning. It's also a useful basis for a conversation with pupils and their parents or carers.
- Opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in order to agree what constitutes 'success' for the various assessment criteria can provide a rich source of professional development.
Make a judgement at assessment-focus and overall subject levels and consider whether performance is high, secure or low within the level
The assessment guidelines enable you to make reliable judgements about your pupils’ attainment in different aspects (or assessment focuses) of your subject. You can then arrive at an overall subject level judgement, before fine-tuning it to 'high', 'secure' or 'low'.
- Some schools choose to report 'high', 'secure', 'low' as a, b, c to fit in with their existing reporting arrangements.
- Don’t be tempted to make a judgement based on insufficient evidence. If sufficient evidence is unavailable, it may be that the scheme of work needs to be adjusted in order to provide a fuller evidence base across the range of Assessment Focuses in the future.
- Specific sub-level assessment criteria don't exist and have never existed. While helpful guidance in arriving at level-related judgements is available, a good degree of professional judgement is also needed.
- Spending some time reviewing the annotated evidence in the Standards Files will help to ensure that your interpretation of the assessment criteria is consistent with that of other colleagues.
- On-going opportunities to share and discuss samples of your pupils’ assessed work will help to ensure consistency within your department as well as providing rich discussions about your pupils’ progress.