The Cooper School Marking and Assessment

This document should be read in tandem with the departmental curriculum documents on the main school website

Assessment at TCS includes both formative and summative forms: the former for the purposes of improving learning/understanding and the latter to provide evidence of current attainment so that this can be provided to parents and students. High quality assessment is a fundamental element of excellent teaching and learning and needs to be considered as part of routine Departmental and classroom planning.

 Assessment is an on-going process that teachers are engaged in almost constantly (when asked at a conference how often teachers should be ‘doing’ Assessment for Learning, Dylan William replied ‘no less than once every two minutes’). The majority of this on-going assessment will be the result of discussions between teacher and student in the classroom. There is also a need, however, to know current attainment against TCS bands/national standards for the purpose of assessing and tracking progress.

All departments at The Cooper School have developed marking policies individually which reflect their curriculum needs. However, all use the format below to determine that there are similarities across the school in terms of the approaches we use for marking.


Assessments and mock examinations

Formal assessments can be viewed alongside the departmental curriculum documents for each area and students are generally assessed in each unit of work they study. These documents are displayed on the school website from September of each year under ‘curriculum’ (They may be removed in June for updating.) However, mock exams occur in: 

  • Year 7/8: All departments complete baseline assessments on entry; KS3 units of work tracked and assessed throughout
  • Year 9: opportunities for ‘walking talking mocks’ or in class mocks at the end of year 9
  • Year 10: Formal GCSE exams in at least 2 option subjects, in PE and RE; mocks in November/December for the subjects mentioned; then ‘in class’ mocks for all other subjects
  • Year 11: November/December mocks in all subjects; 2nd Eng/Maths/Sci mocks in Feb
  • Year 12: June mock
  • Year 13: January mock; ‘in class’ mocks before Easte

Example marking policy (which is determined by the curricular needs of each department)

Department of (named subject) Marking Policy: The Cooper School

Minimum TCS expectations:

Most types of assessment, where at all possible, should encourage a response task or development that involves the students in using the feedback staff have given them in order to improve their work

All key stages should receive a minimum of 3 STAR marked assessments per year, whether they are used formatively or summatively. Both types should require a response task

All key stages should also receive feedback on ‘other types’ of testing, where appropriate, but the minimum number of ‘other tests’ should be decided by the HOD so that the policy is clear to all departmental staff

All key stages should be involved in peer and/or self-assessment using green pens, where appropriate, but the minimum number of exercises should be specified by the HOD and all department staff should be clear of the expectations

All key stages should receive Whole class feedback style sheets ( also called Michaela School style), and/or dialogue stickers and/or 4 quarters style feedback (selected sections which are closely marked with others that are generically responded to)  but the relevance of and frequency of these should be decided by HODs according to their curriculum maps, with all departmental staff being clear as to the expectations in their areas

Staff should be expected to check classwork is done well only through verbal feedback in lessons and/or use of stamps to indicate that the classwork has been seen and that we care about the excellence of work in lessons; in some practical subjects, verbal feedback is recorded by students. Staff should not collect books in simply to stamp/check them as this adds to their assessment workload unnecessarily

Departments then decide their requirements for the following

The Department of (named dept) policy: specific

Response Tasks

Feedback to students should result in as many response tasks as possible. This is so that any feedback we give is acted upon and therefore part of the individual development of the student. Students should indicate a response task in their assessment books/class books either through:

  • use of a department-specific sheet
  • use of the title ‘response task’
  • use of green pen to indicate a response task or correction
  • in practical subjects, verbal feedback may be recorded by the student

Frequency of STAR Marked Assessments: 


Frequency and type of ‘other testing’


Peer and/or self-assessment


Michaela-style/dialogue stickers/4 quarters approaches


Use of stamps/verbal feedback in class only

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