“Mathematics equips pupils with a uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world. These tools include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think in abstract ways.”
The National Curriculum for England DFES/ QCA
Maths at KS3
During one maths lesson per week, pupils complete a Weekly Basic Skills Check which is marked by the subject teacher. During weekly basic skills lessons, Big Maths, pupils are provided with the opportunity to address any issues highlighted in the weekly check through targeted and personalized learning which helps to close any gaps in mathematical knowledge and understanding. Pupils keep a record of their weekly skill check results in their own mentoring files, this is also used by staff for assessment for learning and to aid future planning.
Weekly Basic Skills Checks are not done under exam conditions. Pupils may be provided with prompt sheets to encourage independent inquiry and learning through their assessments.
There are 15 of these weekly assessments at every stage. Each check is repeated to check learning and understanding. The first check is completed with prompt sheet and teacher/ta support to aid learning, the second check is completed without aid. A pupil must achieve 4 weeks of marks in the green (above 20 marks out of 25) before they are allowed to move on to the next level or bridging level.
Pupil Prompt sheets (L3-8) are used when doing the basic skills assessments or given as homework. The sheets show examples of how to answer questions against each APP criteria at every level. These are hugely powerful as once the pupils become familiar with the prompt sheets most can teach themselves. They are also an excellent revision resource.
The Pupil Tracking Sheet is the pupils’ tracking sheet for the year. The maths subject teacher provides dot, line cross results of marking the first of the six half termly tests. The subject teacher is first expected to baseline to provide a consistent and accurate assessment of where all your pupils are in relation to the assessment criteria at the level they are working at.
Pupil Personal Numeracy Target
The teacher sets targets for the pupil for the whole of the next half term by going to the lines on the pupil tracking sheet because the pupils are closest to converting these into crosses already. The Numeracy target is stuck to the front of the child’s book and referred to regularly. Each half term the teacher assesses the pupil’s progress towards achieving that target. It the target is met a new target is provided, the text is coloured in green to show this is the first half term this target has been set. If the child has not met the target the text is coloured in amber to show that this is the second half term this target has been set. However if by the third half term the child has not met the target the text is coloured red to show that they are not making the expected progress and further intervention may be required.
Maths Class Records are used by the maths subject teacher to easily and continually track pupil progress without having to refer to individual exercise books. They allow the teacher to maintain an overview of class performance and are particularly useful in identifying gaps in teaching or learning, which in turn informs planning. The teacher can see what impact his/her teaching has had, and can adapt plans to target gaps in understanding identified by the assessments. The scheme isn’t abandoned, just modified to address gaps in pupils’ learning as we teach the pupils not the scheme.
Half Term Tests are completed under exam conditions and take about an hour to complete. (Answer sheets are provided). If pupils get the question completely right the teacher awards a cross on the pupil’s tracking sheet; if only partially right….a line; completely wrong…. a dot. If they don’t even attempt the question, leave it blank. The teacher then adds up the crosses and records the number in the space at the bottom of that column. This number is used to identify which sub level the result places the pupil in and where they lie within the sub level. This is printed and given to the pupils as their record. It is re-printed for pupils every half term after each new half termly test results in an update. A clear picture builds over the year, increasing the evidence base and therefore teacher confidence in the accuracy of the level assigned. It also provides pupils an opportunity to show they have mastered their targets and that they haven’t forgotten any prior learning..