AIM: To ensure consistent recording, reporting and tracking of pupil progress in writing across the whole school.

We have organised the National Curriculum PoS for writing into clear assessment criteria for every year group (stage) across the school. We consistently track pupil progress against the relevant criteria for individual, groups and classes. The writing assessment criteria are taken straight from the Programme of Study (PoS) for the National Curriculum.

The Stage 5 criteria (A3:1) corresponds to the maths PoS for year 5, Stage 6 to Y6 etc.

Each Stage is broken down into 4 sub stages (similar to old sub levels): Emerging; Developing; Securing and Next Stage Ready (or Mastering/Greater Depth).

It provides a ‘one sheet to view’ overview of a child’s performance across all areas.

This one sheet allows for an assessment to be made across the PoS every half term so that pupil progress is visual, targets are obvious and teaching and support are fully informed.

The expectation is that the vast majority of pupils become ‘Secure’ against their age-related criteria by the end of each school year. To do that, they will need to achieve around 70% of the assessment criteria over each year.

The Criteria brings together all the writing elements of Spelling, Handwriting, Composition, Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation.

The Grammar Resources (Product A1) can generate all the evidence needed to track progress against the writing grammar criteria (as well as many of the spelling criteria).

The Spelling Resources (Product A2) can generate the evidence needed to track progress against the writing spelling criteria.

The Writing Resources (Product A3) largely focus on composition and vocabulary, perhaps the most difficult to master.

What makes our approach unique is that ALL criteria are assessed EVERY half term, whether or not they have been taught. This may seem counter intuitive, time consuming for teachers and even stressful for the children. The opposite is true in practice.

With an assertive mentoring approach the children actually look forward to the next assessment. That is, these are not tests, as such, they are assessments. They are to identify strengths, show progress, and inform teaching and support in order to ensure success.

All areas of writing are cross-referenced on the criteria providing the evidence teachers need to make final assessments. For example:

Stage 5 Criteria 2: Spell some words with silent letters (Sp 5:14-18; GH 5:3,4)

This coding means the spelling of silent letters is covered and assessed in the Stage 5 Spelling Units 14 - 18 AND each week in the Stage 5 Grammar Hammer questions 3 and 4.

Writing Half-Term Assessments

Aim: To ensure that ALL criteria from ALL stages are regularly, consistently, accurately and efficiently assessed.

We recommend that the children’s writing is formally assessed every half-term and performance tracked using the writing criteria. A piece of independently produces, extended writing id used to provide evidence.

We suggest that at least one per term is a whole-school writing activity and resources are supplied for these (A3:2)

If the writing demonstrates good evidence of the criteria being consistently met, put a cross (X) in the corresponding cell on the Criteria Tracking Sheet (A3:1). If it is partially met put a diagonal line (/) in the corresponding cell and a dot if there is no evidence or the criteria is not demonstrated. Common sense must apply if the text type used for the assessment does not allow children to demonstrate certain criteria (in which case teacher assessment based on current work can be made).

Count the number of crosses (and only crosses) awarded on the test. Then put that number in the column at the bottom of the tracking sheet and that shows where they are within the stage: i.e. Emerging, Developing, Securing, or Mastering/Ready for next Stage.

The teacher AND pupil can now SEE what progress has been made since the last assessment and how many more ‘crosses’ are needed on the next half termly test (in approx. 6 weeks time) to stay on trajectory to meet the end of year target.

The teacher discusses the diagonal lines (/) on the tracking sheet to identify 3 - 5 targets that the pupil can work on over the next half term, knowing that if these can be converted into crosses by the time of the next half-term assessment, the pupil will be on trajectory to achieve the year-end target. Some targets may take longer than 6 weeks to achieve and may be carried forward for another half term if required. Targets are explained and demonstrated using the appropriate Pupil Prompts, which the child uses as an aide memoir.

Feedback sheets (A3:3) reflecting the writing criteria are used to agree targets with the child for the next half term, using the latest assessment. The children refer to the target sheet each week during extended writing and evaluate their own performance against their targets where relevant. This way, neither the teacher nor child have to commit individual targets to memory.

The teacher uses the same sheet as feedback on whether they agree or challenge the evaluation. This, together with the lesson objective, is the only feedback required, keeping marking efficient, effective and meaningful.

Completing a Criteria Class Record allows the teacher to maintain an overview of class performance, to help identify gaps in T&L, which in turn informs planning. They also give an indication of ability groups to inform class organisation and differentiation and show the children requiring intervention and extension work. We teach the pupils not the scheme!

There is also an Excel IT Tracker available which can make the tracking, recording and reporting of pupil progress a paperless exercise.


Text Type Prompts

Aim: To ensure the consistent coverage and teaching of the key features of the main fiction and non-fiction text types.

Text Type Prompts (A3:4) are provided as for all the main fiction and non-fiction text types including: Instructions, Biography, Discursive Argument, Explanation, Non-Chronological Report, Recount etc.

Each text type prompt details the purpose and key features of the relevant text and provides a possible writing scaffold for the structure and organisation paragraph by paragraph.

The same text type prompt with the paragraphs blanked out is provided as a planning/organisation sheet.

The prompts ensure consistent coverage of teaching points and up-skill both staff and pupils.

Edit and Evaluate Prompts

Each text type has its own specific Evaluate and Edit prompt (A3:5).

The child would not be expected to evaluate all aspects, or use after every piece of extended writing.

However, they should be used regularly and should focus on the particular teaching points of the lesson and ALWAYS on the child’s individual writing targets.

Once the children are familiar with them they provide powerful evidence with which to assess the ‘evaluate and edit’ writing criteria.

The children can quickly check their writing and evaluate how effective they have been against the areas agreed. Children use the Assertive Mentoring colour code to show how they think they have done:

Green (G) Very Good/Excellent All correct Fully Achieved

Yellow (Y) Fair/Good Mostly correct Partly Achieved

Red (R) Poor Mostly incorrect Not Achieved

The teacher can simply agree with the evaluation or challenge a particular colour with evidence.

Writing Prompts

The children have a series of writing prompts to assist them as they write and allow them to ‘up-stage’ the quality of their writing.

The samples included are for Vocabulary (A3:6) and Punctuation (A3:7). Others include: Connectives, Openers, Figurative Language, Grammar and more. They are differentiated for LKS2 and KS1.

The children refer to these prompts in every extended writing activity, which we would suggest is once a week. They soon begin to commit many to memory and gain the skills needed to reproduce the same quality during independent writing and assessments (which is the only time the prompts cannot be used).


Peter Boddy

Phone number
07810 125 494

Eamonn Farrar

Phone number
07951 391 388

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