The benefits of interactive assessment

Thanks to Camilla Erskine for this article. 

What is interactive assessment?

Interactive assessments are those that are completed and automatically marked on a computer or mobile device. There are various types of interactive tests, ranging from ready-made tests – either specifically for digital use or those that have been adapted from existing paper-based tests – to tailor-made tests that are created from a bank of questions. Such customised tests can be as short or long as the teacher wishes, focusing on a particular topic or style of question, or they may be designed to assess across topics that have been taught over a period of time, for example over the last half term. Some interactive tests can also be created by children themselves – it depends on the system being used. Interactive assessments are most widely used in mathematics as the subject generally lends itself well to automatic marking, but they are also available for English and other subjects as well as to assess skills (e.g. cognitive reasoning).

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Key Stage 2 SATs results: the national picture

Scaled score conversion tables for key stage 2

The scaled score conversion tables for the 2017 key stage 2 national tests have been published by the DfE.

  • In reading, children need a scaled score of 26 to reach the expected standard (5 more than 2016)
  • In maths, children need a scaled score of 57 to reach the expected standard (3 less than 2016)
  • In GPS, children need a scaled score of 36 to reach the expected standard (7 less than 2016)

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Phonics screening check: guidance and answer sheets

The DfE has released scoring guidance, materials and answer sheets for the 2017 phonics screening check. These materials will help teachers and children become familiar with the phonics screening check, and enable teachers to score performance once the check has been administered.

The 2017 phonics screening check threshold mark is 32. Teachers should check each pupil’s mark against the thresholds to establish whether they have achieved the expected standard.

Download guidance and materials here. 

Is your end-of-year assessment data as helpful as it can be?

Thanks to Deputy Head Michael Tidd for this post.

As another year draws to a close, conversations in school revolve around new classes, end-of-year reports and sports days – and of course, final assessments. For those teaching in Year 6, much of that is taken out of our hands, and the work is done by this time of the year, but not so for the other year groups. And it’s the other year groups that we’ll be taking forward into the new academic year.

We talk a lot as a profession about the doubts raised in secondary schools about Key Stage 2 data, and even in junior schools about infant data, but we tend to be a bit more circumspect about the same challenges within our schools. So how do we make sure that our end-of-year assessment data is just as valuable as a start-of-year indicator to the new teacher?

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Assessing Special Educational Needs

Thanks to Charles Weedon, Educational psychologist and teacher, for this post

Charley really toils with some of the things we ask her to do in the classroom.  The policies about learning difficulties, the rhetoric, are often impressive….. But the reality sometimes seems more threadbare and stretched day-by-day, and the outside agencies that might be able to help us just don’t seem to be there.  Despite our best efforts, Charley is going nowhere good  –  reading still agony, written work looks like a battlefield, and while some days she’s worryingly quiet and withdrawn, others she’s off the wall and causing mayhem.

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Reflections on the 2017 SATs in KS2

Thanks to Joanna Keelan, Year 6 Teacher at Walton-le-Dale Primary School for the following article

I believe the new style SATs tests are challenging, which all of us in the profession knew when the new curriculum came out in 2014. Little did we know how challenging until SATs in 2016, however, the tests the children sat this year, gave all abilities in that year a chance to show their ability.

It does not stop the pressure the staff in Year 6 feel, when trying to prepare the children for these tests.  We want to give them the best chance of showing a true reflection of their knowledge, and in the time scale we’ve got, for some children it is impossible.  We are lucky enough in our environment, to have two strong TAs placed in year 6 full time, who take children out for interventions in more specific areas.  I truly believe this makes all the difference.

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Department for Education publicly release test materials from this year’s Key Stage 1 national tests

On 6th June 2017 the Department for Education have publicly released the test materials from this year’s Key Stage 1 national tests.  These include test papers and mark schemes for Maths, English reading and English grammar, spelling and punctuation sat by KS1 pupils in May 2017.

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2017 key stage 1 scaled score conversion tables

On 6th June the DfE released the 2017 key stage 1 scaled score conversion tables. The tables show each of the possible raw scores on the 2017 key stage 1 tests. To convert each child’s raw score to a scaled score, you can look up the raw score and read across to the appropriate scaled score. A scaled score of 100 or more shows the pupil has met the expected standard in the test.

What has changed since last year?

  • In reading, the score needed has increased from 22 out of 40 in 2016 to 25 out of 40 this year.
  • In GPS, there has been a slight drop from 25 out of 40 to 24 out of 40.
  • In maths, children are expected to get 36 out of 60, a drop from 37 out of 60 in 2016.

Download the tables here.