The English Department
The overall curriculum design places an emphasis on the steady development of skills towards an agreed level of competency or mastery: for Newcastle Academy this is English Literature and English Language GCSE. This is mapped over a significant period of time from Year 7 through to Year 11, with students being given repeated opportunities to demonstrate their skills, developing in sophistication and in a range of contexts.
Students in Year 7 and Year 8 have a totally of 7 lessons per fortnight. For specific topics taught see the English Curriculum Overview Document. GCSE Assessment Objectives used throughout both key stages and developed gradually so that learners are able to secure key knowledge before progressing the skill level to secure more confident, competent and sophisticated responses. This means that for the reading objectives, Year 7 has a greater emphasis on AO1 skills which are to select, retrieve interpret and infer; developing into Year 8 and 9 with more frequent coverage of AOs 2,3 and 4 which are to analyse, compare and critically evaluate.
The English Faculty prepare all students for both English Language and English Literature GCSEs. Both subjects are assessed by 100% examination with 2 exams taking place for each subject and using the AQA specification. In Year 9 the students receive 8 hours of teaching per fortnight and in Years 10 and 11 the students receive 9 hours of teaching per fortnight.
learners develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result, achieve well. Where relevant, this is reflected in results from national tests and examinations that meet government expectations, or in the qualifications obtained
learners are ready for the next stage of education, employment or training. Where relevant, they gain qualifications that allow them to go on to destinations that meet their interests, aspirations and the intention of their course of study. They read widely and often, with fluency and comprehension.
How grades are decided for input; what are the grades based upon?
For each Assessment Objective in English Language/English there is a ‘mini- map’ reflecting the different levels of competency in that particular skill. Individual assessments are marked using these ‘mini -maps’, with marks then being transferred to the main Assessment Map to be tracked and monitored. With each level attained with each skill, teachers then make a judgement as to how that skill level equates to a grade using the most recent information and grade boundaries from the exam board.
The English Literature assesses all of the objectives at the same time and therefore needs to be monitored by set text and question. Therefore, data for English literature can only be collected once students have started studying and are being assessed on the set texts.
The evidence base for assessment input; where do we find the students work?
Student notes and preparation tasks may be in books or on ipads. In Year 7 and 8 all students’ assessments will be in exercise books. In Years 9, 10 and 11, the majority of assessments are in the students’ exercise books, the only exceptions being when the students participate in WTMs and PPEs
Faculty Assessment Maps
Assessment maps are regularly used by teachers in their assessment of students’ work during lessons. These assessment maps are used to track the progress of subject specific skills, providing students with clear next steps.
- Ensure that students have access to their own assessment maps and explain that the maps help staff to assess student attainment in lessons, tests, exams and homework against GCSE criteria. The maps help us to plot current attainment and, more importantly, outline what progress steps are needed to improve further. The maps may be stuck into books/folders or held electronically
- Allow students to assess their work against the maps. Students or teachers should highlight which aspects of the map they think they have achieved and then tick when this skill is secured – the starting point for this process is their most recent CWG (Current Working Grade) and EAP (Expected Attainment Pathway) target. The CWG gives an indication of the level/grade at which a student is working taking into account assessments, tests, classwork and homework.
- In conversation with students verify or amend the self-assessment.
- Ensure that by the end of this process all student copies of the assessment map which are available to both students and teachers during every lesson
- In situations, staff may utilise mini-maps to aid the teaching of specific aspects or outcomes of the assessment map.
As can be seen, this process is best undertaken via individual learning conversations with students. As part of this a target setting process is undertaken whereby next steps for improvement are agreed.
Not only does this process highlight GCSE/BTEC skills throughout Y7-11, it also clearly maps out what a student needs to do to improve. Teachers will use this information to plan subsequent lessons and assessments. This approach to assessment and feedback is a common one across all subject areas, providing a consistent pattern for students.
Standardisation is completed before each data collection week and follows this process:
- All staff attend the meeting
- Staff bring a requested sample of books
- HoF ensures subject Assessment maps and any KS4 Mark Schemes are available
- Staff look at books from another member of staff to agree or request amendments to assessment marks, then to comment on amount of work and consistent use of school policy
- Standardisation will also take place across the Trust with English colleagues