Assessment tools used at Northern Counties School


At Northern Counties School we use a range of assessment tools to support teacher and therapist judgements about progress and for target setting.


We assess our hearing impaired and autistic pupils using PIVATS (Performance Indicators for Value Added Target Setting).  PIVATS provides a structured approach to assessing, planning for learning, tracking and measuring small steps in attainment, focusing within the PIVATS structure on small steps within the P scales up to the revised national curriculum Y4 age related expectations. We use PIVATS to recognise achievement, and to close the gaps in pupils’ attainment.


We use a data analysis system CASPA (Comparison and Analysis of Special Pupil Attainment)  to determine whether our pupils are making the best progress possible in the areas of English, Maths, Science Computing and PSHE. Data from CASPA informs us whether our pupils are making as much progress as they should be by comparing assessed scores with the scores of other similar pupils nationally.

Target setting

Targets are set each year for all pupils using moderated teacher judgments and CASPA set targets. Where there has been an anomaly between teacher and CASPA set targets the assessment leader will take an average of the two, unless there are valid reasons not to do so (following further discussions with class teacher). The final target is validated in the CASPA system. This makes the target setting process at Northern Counties School robust.

Throughout the year the assessment coordinator and the teachers track the progress of the pupils in their class ensuring they are able to meet or exceed their targets. Focused interventions will be put into place where a pupil is not showing expected progress.

Routes for Learning

We have chosen to use Routes for Learning in order to assess the cognitive and communicative abilities of our pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). This is an assessment tool provided by the Welsh Assembly that breaks down the early P Scale descriptors into 43 small steps. Pupils can progress through the steps by using either the main route or alternative routes, seven of the steps are listed as ‘key milestones’ that the children might go through.  The ‘pathways’ through the ‘route map’ can be individual depending on the interests, needs and abilities of the children. Each of the statements on the R for L document are measured on a four point scale; generalised, achieved, evident and working towards.


The SCERTS Model is a research-based educational approach and multidisciplinary framework that directly addresses the core challenges faced by children and persons with ASD and related disabilities, and their families. SCERTS focuses on building competence in Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support as the highest priorities that must be addressed in any program, and is applicable for individuals with a wide range of abilities and ages across home, school and community settings.


ASDAN is a curriculum development organisation and awarding body, offering programmes and qualifications that explicitly grow skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life. Students will follow individual pathways throughout the ASDAN programme.  They will complete challenges from the units given below.  They will build their portfolios of evidence and select and complete the required number of challenges to obtain a Bronze (60 hours), Silver (120 hours) or Gold (180 hours) award.  They will monitor their achievements and credits gained by filling in an individual ‘Record of Progress’.


Each student will take an individual pathway through each curriculum area; this will be selected by teaching staff in consultation with the student and his/her parents. The student will submit portfolios for accreditation or enter for external examinations on completion of each course.