Information on the reforms to assessment and accountability in primary school.
From September 2015, the Government has made a huge change in the way that children are to be assessed in schools. This is to tie in with the new curriculum that we started to teach from in Years 1, 3, 4 and 5 last September.
This is an exciting new way of thinking for schools and assessment will look very different to how it has done.
Why are levels disappearing?
The DfE want to avoid what has been termed ‘The Level Race’ where children have moved through the old National Curriculum levels quickly to achieve higher attainment. The old National Curriculum was subdivided into levels, but these were not linked to children’s National Curriculum year group. For example, a child in Year 4 could be a level 3, or even a 5. The DfE recognised that a significant number of children were able to achieve a level 5 or 6 in a test- but were not secure with their learning at that level. The overriding feeling was that the levels system failed to adequately ensure that children had a breadth and depth of knowledge.
Assessing without levels
The DfE announced last year that there would no longer be National Curriculum levels and that schools would set up their own form of assessing pupils up to the end of KS1 and KS2. At the end of each Key Stage (i.e. Year 2 and Year 6), children will then sit national tests similar to SATS. The results of these tests will no longer be give by a level but as a scaled score. We are awaiting further information from the DfE on the nature of these tests.
The DfE are currently finalising the precise nature of the scaled scores but the expectation is that a score of approximately 100 in the tests for Year 2 or Year 6 will indicate that a child has attained the nationally expected level. Scores achieved above and below this in the tests indicate attainment above or below national expectations accordingly.
Within School Assessment
The school has welcomed the changes to both the National Curriculum and assessment procedures and we have consulted with leading experts about what our in school assessment process will look like. It has to be appropriate for our children and stand up to scrutiny through structured moderation across the Wharfe Valley schools, Bradford Education Authority and from national bodies such as Ofsted.
Our system takes the end of year expectations for each year group and splits them into 4 categories as follows:
- Beginning- New Learning. Children have just been introduced to new ideas.
- Advancing- Children may still need support to consolidate their new learning.
- Met- Children would be able to use their new learning without support.
- Exceeding- Secure in all the end of year expectations and able to use and apply knowledge and skills with confidence.
These are the categories we will report to you at the end of the school year instead of the old levels (level 1, 2,3 etc.). We have invested in and developed a sophisticated tracking system which uses national data to establish category boundaries. This ensures we have a rigourous assessment system to support the identification of your child’s strengths and areas for further development.
There will be an information board at Parent’s Evening as well as the opportunity to attend an information meeting about the new assessment systems later in the term which we hope will help you to develop a clearer understanding of this significant change in our Education System.
Further information and reading can be found at;
www.gov.uk/government/publications -Final Report of the Commission on assessment without levels –Chaired by John McIntoch
www.gov.uk/guidance/scaled-scores – Guidance on scaled scores