Scholastic and Darrick Wood School win Educational Resources Award
Scholastic and Darrick Wood School are delighted that their collaboration on the STEPS system has been recognised by the Educational Resource Awards 2018 panel.
Since September 2014, assessing without levels has become a reality and schools have had to find new methods of assessment and tracking progress. Darrick Wood School in Orpington, Kent was one of a handful of forward-thinking schools that had started work on an assessment recording and progress monitoring model of their own. Assistant Headteacher, Martin Smith led the development and steered a small number of colleagues through the challenge of making the system one which could meet the needs of not just his own but also a range of other schools locally. Scholastic went on to partner with Martin Smith and Darrick Wood to deliver STEPS, a tried and tested assessment system for Key Stage 3 to schools all over the UK.
The STEPS system allows for meaningful reporting of both attainment and progress in all subjects studied at Key Stage 3.The programme of study for each National Curriculum subject is divided into Strands and progressive Steps. This bottom up approach to building the system ensures that the curriculum requirements are met while progressing students towards GCSE readiness by the end of Key Stage 3.
The cornerstone of the system is a simple STEPS Grid for each subject and a progressive set of attainment targets that break the curriculum into manageable chunks. At the beginning of the first term in Year 7, all students undertake baseline testing in the form of a written test or practical assessment, depending on the subject in question. This subject-specific testing gives every student an entry point into each Strand. Through ongoing formative assessment the students’ progression can then be measured over the course of Key Stage 3.
Students are introduced to the STEPS system at the beginning of Year 7 and constant exposure to the ‘big picture’ is achieved simply by promoting the use of the STEPS Grids throughout the school – and more widely to parents. Once students become used to and feel at ease with STEPS, most will be able to identify their own targets in each Strand. The class teacher’s role, through formative marking, is to suggest appropriate strategies and work with the pupil to find the ways to meet the next challenge. Parents feel empowered, gain in confidence and become highly supportive of the process within the school largely because the system is very logical and makes sense; having their own handbook of STEPS Grids has also proved to be very reassuring!
Teachers relish the advantages that such a focused approach affords and really value its structure. Many teachers have commented upon a newfound focus to parental meetings and the guidance and support it gives them during the report-writing process. Subject Leaders are able to analyse the results from each data collection window to identify strands of their subject which the pupils are finding more difficult and/or which teachers are finding more difficult to deliver. The level of detail helps to raise an early warning to individual pupils, as well as teaching groups who are seemingly making unusual rates of progress.