(I'm going to focus on assessing ICT in Years 1 to 6 in this blog post - the early learning goal for ICT for the EYFS is located in the 'Knowledge and Understanding of the World' strand of the curriculum guidance and I'm sure that most schools are already capable of reporting FSP scores to the relevant stakeholders.)
To start, it's necessary to consider what actually needs to be assessed and it may surprise you to learn that the only statutory requirement that I'm aware of is the government's The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005 which state that:
1. Except where otherwise specified, the following information must be included in the annual report of every pupil—
(a)brief particulars of achievements in all subjects and activities forming part of the school curriculum;
In addition to this however, OfSTED (mainly in ICT subject inspections from what I can gather) also expect to see some evidence that you are monitoring/tracking pupils' attainment so that you can prove that your pupils are making progress in the subject.
Other Schools' Strategies
These requirements are interpreted in a variety of ways and I've read online about the wide range of strategies that schools use to assess and report pupils' ICT capabilities, including:
- having 'skills checklists' that children use to self-assess themselves periodically;
- using software applications that contain specific assessment tasks for the children to complete and which then automatically produce an analysis of their work (e.g. time taken, number of 'undos' made etc.);
- taking samples of pupils' work to annotate and then create a portfolio of example work produced at each attainment level from the National Curriculum for England;
- 'gamifying' the assessment process by awarding children badges/stickers (physically and/or online) when they demonstrate that they can independently implement/combine skills at a particular level.
My Assessment Arrangements
I will admit that I have tried out a few of the strategies other schools have used, but after much consideration I now do what I consider to be the most appropriate and time-effective system:
- I formatively assess pupils in each lesson through observation of how they complete tasks and the quality of their finished work (see this blog post for more details).
- I produce my own summative assessment judgement of pupils at the end of year which I record onto a simple spreadsheet I've created. This includes both their attainment as a whole P or National Curriculum level and a grade (A* - E) that I award for their effort (in line with all other foundation subjects at my school).
ICT achievements are reported to parents in an end of year report in July that includes a mini paragraph explaining how each child has performed in the lessons (in their: standard of work, attitude and behaviour). To make this as easy as possible, I wrote a bank of statements last year to use to form the basis of most children's comments (tweaked, tailored and personalised for each individual child where appropriate obviously):
Alongside this, I also record a mini evaluation of each lesson on my weekly planning sheet and regularly self-reflect on the success of my lessons using this blog too.
It is my opinion that assessing ICT shouldn't be seen as a 'chore'. Indeed, there aren't any statutory requirements to report great swathes of details about each pupil and unlike: maths, English and science the ICT National Curriculum attainment levels aren't even broken down into sub-levels. The aim of assessment is to help you plan your future lessons better - whether this be in your teaching methods/delivery or in the tasks you set to pupils of different abilities to support/challenge them further. Everyone has different thoughts on what they feel best helps them do this. There isn't a fully-'right' or -'wrong' way I don't think but though explaining how I assess ICT myself I've hopefully given you some insight into one approach that I feel is successful and works well to meet the needs of the various school stakeholders.
I look forward to reading any comments you may have!