Update to Key Stage 1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test administration guidance

The Department for Education has announced that in 2016 there will be no requirement to administer the KS1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test or to use the result as part of that assessment. You can read the full administration guidance on the DfE website here. 

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Writing Moderation – Clarification and Updates on Key Changes

Thank you to Shareen Mayers for the following helpful summary of recent updates and changes in writing moderation. 

The following article includes useful information about:

  • Writing moderation changes
  • Using the Interim Assessment Frameworks to assess pupils’ writing 
  • KS1 and KS2 Writing Materials
  • Clarification of handwriting and joined up/cursive handwriting for KS1 and KS2
  • Gathering evidence – what does ‘independent writing’ mean?
  • Essential requirements for schools
  • Official STA Clarification of the frequency of evidence in each piece
  • STA Clarification on exclamations for KS1 and KS2

Every LA has the flexibility to carry out the moderation process according to local needs. However, it is statutory to use the Interim Assessment Framework as a checklist to check that pupils have met the ‘working towards’, ‘expected’ or ‘greater depth’ within the expected standard. Continue reading →

2016 teacher assessment exemplification materials now published for English, mathematics and science

The 2016 teacher assessment exemplification materials are now available for Key Stage 1 and 2 in English, mathematics and science. These exemplification materials have been published by the Department for Education to support teacher assessment of each pupil at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2.

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Is the new standard for writing equivalent to Level 5?

Shareen Mayers reveals why the new writing standard might not be as scary as we had expected …

After much anticipation, the long-awaited writing exemplification materials were published a few weeks ago. For some, the expectation of the materials seemed more like the equivalent of the old Level 5, and many teachers (but not all) were very anxious about this. I am hoping to put you at ease by demonstrating that the new standard might not be as high as Level 5. While the use of punctuation (e.g. semi-colons, brackets, etc) and some sentence structures are clearly Level 5, pupils need to use semi-colons in a list and not for two independent clauses to be at the expected standard. I am pleased about this because teaching the wider usage of semi-colons and expecting all pupils to use this in their writing is a real challenge.

Key issue

Within the writing exemplification collection of work, there are two examples of writing at the expected standard – Morgan and Leigh. The examples from Leigh have caused the most controversy because Leigh is clearly a borderline pupil. Leigh is using some aspects of the ‘greater depth’ standard but has too many gaps to be given that standard. However, Morgan isn’t working at the greater depth standard at all but is still being given exactly the same standard as Leigh. It is like comparing a good school and a good school with outstanding features – both are still ‘good’ schools. Continue reading →

KS1 & KS2 tests – videos for parents by Michael Tidd

This post has been shared from Michael Tidd’s blog which you can find at: www.michaelt1979.wordpress.com

At my school we’re increasingly using the school website and Facebook pages to communicate with families, particularly aiming to reach those who are not so easily able to attend after-school meetings and events.

I also sometimes wonder if parents meetings don’t end up being overly long-winded because we feel that if we’ve dragged parents into school then we ought to make it worth their while coming; nobody wants to travel 20 minutes each way for a 5-minute meeting. But sometimes, 5 minutes is enough.

I have updated the videos I made last year to explain the KS1 and KS2 tests to parents. As there is an option about using Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling tests in primary schools, there are now two versions of the video for KS1 (one with, one without the GPS tests).

Please feel free to use these videos on your school’s website or social media channels, or in parent meetings etc. There are MP4 versions available to download. Continue reading →

What we know – and don’t know – about primary assessment

Thanks to deputy headteacher Michael Tidd for this article

No sooner have we finished one set of Key Stage assessments, than attention inevitably turns to the next lot! But things are a little different this year. We’ve had minor tweaks before, of course, but usually with a little more notice. Summer 2016 is looking to be rather different.

So, what do we know for certain – and what still remains unanswered?

Early Years

We know…

Schools have been volunteering to trial Reception Baseline Assessments, which will take place for the first time in 2015. Most schools are likely to take part from 2016 when the EYFS profile becomes optional, although in theory there’s no compulsion to use a baseline at all. However, schools who don’t use one will find themselves being judged purely on attainment in 2022 – which is not as far away as it seems.

We don’t yet know…

How the outcomes of the tests will be compared, with schools completing one of several completely different tests (of which the DfE are still yet to confirm the final approved list).

Key Stage 1

We know…

The phonics test remains in Year 1, and for those who do not reach the required standard again in Year 2.

The big changes are in Year 2 where a new grammar test will be introduced alongside new versions of the reading and maths tests. All of these will produce a scaled score instead of a level outcome. Teacher Assessment will still be required for all those areas as well as speaking & listening and science. Continue reading →