Assessment and Reporting at Foundation Stage

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Assessment is the cornerstone of good learning and teaching. It can make a vital contribution to improving educational outcomes for all children. It’s about collecting, interpreting and using information to give a deeper appreciation of what children know and understand, their skills and capabilities, and what their learning enables them to do.

Assessment should:

  • complement and support the key aims of the Northern Ireland Curriculum;
  • be fit for purpose;
  • be manageable; and
  • be supported by teacher professional judgements that are consistent and reliable.

Teachers can use different types of assessment to gather information. They can use this information for a range of purposes, including:

Purposes of Assessment
Diagnostic Formative Summative Evaluative
To identify strengths and areas for improvement and to inform next steps To use assessment information to make specific improvements in learning To ackowledge, record and report pupils' overall performance and achievement at a point in time To inform curriculum planning and to provide information for monitoring and accountability

In Years 1 and 2, teachers assess pupil progress in the statutory curriculum (the Cross-Curricular Skills, the Areas of Learning and the Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities) and report this progress to parents. Ongoing assessment is based mainly on teacher observation that informs the learning programme for each child. Observations are a natural and essential part of good practice for teachers and classroom assistants. Well-planned, regular and skilful observations help teachers gather information about children’s progress over time, which ensures that teachers are meeting all children’s needs. The Foundation Stage classroom should reflect a culture of open communication, positive relationships and risk taking.