TS2 & TS6: Assessment in EYFS

One of my targets to achieve whilst on my second school placement is to understand how to assess in the early years, as I know that it is a much different process than that in Year 2 where there are books to assess work (TS6: know and understand how to assess the relevant subject and curriculum areas, including statutory assessment requirements).

In the early years, practitioners must provide evidence that the pupils are reaching age related expectations which are listed in the Development Matters document. The school use a program and I have observed my mentor using the program, and I have discussed how to use this with her. To provide evidence within this program, you should take a photo of the child engaged in their activity, and write down exactly what they have said/done in the notes. Then, you can link the observation to which early learning goal the child is meeting, sometimes this is more than one. I have used the program and I have started to assess the children using the iPad during their free play. This has been a useful experience, as I recognise that I am becoming more familiar with the program, and the learning goals for this age-range. (TS6: make use of formative and summative assessment to secure pupils’ progress)

Further, on Friday, I read with one of the pupils who is in my LA phonics group. My mentor discussed how she assesses readers on Fridays, by letting them read their book, supporting them in doing so and making notes on significant aspects of their reading. Using the format that she provided me, I took notes on how the pupil read. One thing that I noticed was that she started to guess what the word was by looking at the pictures, as opposed to looking at the word and using her segmenting and blending skills from phonics to read. I took note of this in her reading record, and I am going to use my phonics sessions to support her over the week.

From here, I will continue reading with her on a weekly basis, to assess any progress made and to continue using this to inform my phonics planning (TS6: use relevant data to monitor progress, set targets, and plan subsequent lessons). I noticed that she could segment the words with support, and that her main issue was blending the sounds to make the word.

In my planning for next week’s phonics, I am going to involve lots of CVC segmenting and blending both orally and for reading to build her confidence and assess her over the week (TS2: be aware of pupils’ capabilities and their prior knowledge, and plan teaching to build on these).

From researching letters and sounds using the document ‘Letters and Sounds – DFES’ and discussions with my mentor, I have some good ideas to target this (TS2: be accountable for pupils’ attainment, progress and outcomes). One game that I will be using is Full Circle, where we will be looking closely at the 3 sounds in the word and discussing how there is a beginning sound, a middle sound, and an ending sound which makes the CVC word. In the game, we change one phoneme to make a new word, until we eventually get back to the original word. Further, I will be playing Buried Treasure, in order to encourage reading for a purpose, and highlight how we must read the word to check it makes sense, rather than guessing (TS2: demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how pupils learn and how this impacts on teaching).

This experience has clearly informed my planning for the week ahead, as I know what to focus on and I will be able to see any progress made over the week by consistently reading with pupils as another way to assess their understanding of phonics.

I recognise the importance of giving pupils a reason to read, as some do not have the chance to read often at home. For this reason, I will be trying to think of more ways to give purpose to reading in phonics, by making my activities fun, engaging, and active.

Some of my ideas for next week have been informed by the letters and sounds document, and I have also found some more creative ideas to revise/revisit segmenting and blending on pinterest. Some of these include splatting the word with fly swatters, and a CVC hoop jumping game which can be played outdoors, which I found on Pinterest. I will discuss these with my mentor at our weekly meeting, and see if she has any more advice for me, regarding ideas for segmenting and blending, and maintaining focus throughout my phonics sessions.

I also hope to continue using the assessment program on the iPads to build my confidence in doing this over the course of next week.

Focused next steps to impact on your progress or the progress of the children in your care:

  • Continue using the assessment program to build confidence.
  • Continue reading with pupils in my phonics group to assess understanding over the week and inform next weeks planning.
  • Consider more ways to make phonics fun and engaging – give the pupils a purpose for reading!