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The M-PESA Foundation Academy recognizes the important role played by assessment in the process of teaching and learning. We view assessment as a crucial opportunity for all stakeholders in the process of teaching and learning to determine whether learning is taking place or not, thus providing the platform for an informed futuristic planning.

With this in mind, the Academy has adopted a two-pronged approach to assessment: Assessment for Learning (AFL) and Assessment of Learning (AOL). The use of formative assessment (Assessment for Learning) as well as summative assessment (Assessment of Learning) is evident across the Academy. In particular, all summative assessments are designed such that they can be used formatively.

Formative assessment is embedded in all teaching and learning activities. Assessment opportunities occur during every lesson and often take the form of questioning and dialogue, observation of learner activities, discussions with learners and monitoring of class work and home learning tasks.

All of these activities provide teachers with important information and determines or modifies the lesson content as the teacher gauges the progress a leaner is making and then intervenes appropriately.Learners are assessed using a formative baseline test in Form One. The information gained is used to inform targets set by the respective subject tutors in collaboration with each individual learner.

AFL tasks are built into every scheme of work. These are in the form of tests, home learning tasks, research projects, practical activities and assignments which require the learners to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do. These tasks are identified in the M-PESA Foundation Academy’s Home Learning and Projects Schedule.

We also value feedback as a central tool in promoting effective learning. We give constructive feedback focused on guiding the learner to improve against a stated success criteria for every assignment or assessment. The success criteria for every task is made explicit to the learner.

In all Forms, this success criteria is drawn from the National Curriculum level descriptors. The aim is to help the learner understand how to close the gap between their current and their desired performance in achieving the learning outcomes. Feedback is set out in the following form:

  • ‘What went well’ (WWW) — aspects of work that are strong/ show development.
  • ‘Even better if’ (EBI) — aspects of relative weakness/ an area to target for improvement.

These comments are designed to relate to learning outcomes as closely as possible and are phrased in an encouraging and supportive tone. We also allow learners to engage with the feedback given by giving them a “Next Time I’ll” space as follows:

  • ‘Next time I’ll … (NTI)’ space is left for learners to engage with the feedback that has been given.

In conclusion, we give learners differentiated feedback which reflects their individual level of ability as follows:

  • High ability learners receive a suggestion on how to improve their work.
  • Medium ability learners receive scaffold advice on how to improve their work.
  • Low ability learners are given an assessment of how to improve their work.