Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, talks about the curriculum and the relationship between Ofsted and data

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, delivered an insightful speech at the Wellington Festival of Education. So, we’ve picked out a handful of key points (particularly about the curriculum and the relationship between Ofsted and data) that we think you’ll find interesting ahead of next year…

 

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3 ways to reduce unnecessary workload with standardised tests

Katie_Blainey_standardised_reduce_workloadPublishing Director, Katie Blainey, explores unnecessary workload and how using standardised tests can save you heaps of valuable time!

It may sound unintuitive that an increase in testing can ultimately reduce workload for teachers and increase pupils’ learning, but it is worth considering. Increasingly, primary schools, secondary schools and MATs are adopting standardised tests across the school to support informed teaching and save time. Here are just 3 reasons why…

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How have our Optional Tests helped Primary children and teachers?

Optional_Tests_SATs_StyleAs the Summer term nears its end, our Assessment Publisher, Cerys Hadwin-Owen, takes the time to reflect on how using our Optional Tests this term has helped Primary children and teachers.

Our Optional Tests are written and edited by primary subject experts, many of whom have experience of working directly with the Department for Education on the current National Test papers. They have all been primary classroom teachers themselves, with many still holding teaching and leadership positions in schools across the country.

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Planned changes to accountability and why standardisation is more important than ever

James Pembroke is back with another blog, and this time he’s talking all about the planned changes to accountability and why this means that standardisation is more important than ever!

Standardisation_assessmentFor as long as most of us can remember, the progress of pupils in primary schools has been measured from Key Stage 1. Prior to 2016 we had a mixed economy of a levels of progress measure – where making two levels of progress across Key Stage 2 was defined as ‘expected’ – and a value added (VA) measure, in which each pupil’s score at key stage 2 was compared to the national average score of pupils with similar Key Stage 1 prior attainment. This dual approach to measuring progress was confusing because the two measures did not relate to one another. In fact, they were often at odds, and it was entirely feasible for a school to have all pupils make the expected progress of two levels and yet end up with a VA score that was significantly below average. Something had to give.

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Helping MATs make sense of their data

James Pembroke is the founder of the school data company, Sig+, and he’s written this very handy article to help Multi Academy Trusts make sense of their data.  

What are the benefits and risks of data collection in MATs?

Due to the nature of MATs, there’s a wide range of expertise that can be utilised to develop effective, common approaches to assessment. Decision makers are more well informed, so they can direct resources to where they’re most needed, and large numbers of pupils mean more reliable, meaningful data. The risk of data collection, though, is that it might lead to a top down, accountability-focused system of assessment that increases workload but doesn’t have much of an impact on learning. So, how can we make sense of all this data, and put it to good use? Continue reading →

2018 national curriculum assessments calendar

Dates for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 administration

January 2018

  • 29th Jan – ‘Access arrangements’ on NCA tools opens

February 2018

  • 19th Feb – KS2 ‘Pupil registration’ on NCA tool opens
  • 26th Feb – Deadline for schools to submit applications for KS2 early opening and compensatory marks Continue reading →

2018 Assessment and Reporting Arrangements

On 17th October the DfE published the 2018 statutory guidance for assessments at the end of KS1 and KS2.

Key Changes for 2017 to 2018

Key stage 1

  • The STA has revised the English teacher assessment frameworks at the end of Key Stage 1. The revised ‘pupil can’ statements are less prescriptive and place greater emphasis on grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  • The KS1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests remain optional from 2018 onwards. Grammar, punctuation and spelling test materials will be available to download from 1st May.

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Phonics screening check and Key Stage 1 Assessments

On 28th September, the DfE released information about the phonics screening check results and results of the 2017 Key Stage 1 teacher assessments.

This year, more than 4 in 5 pupils have met the expected standard in the phonics screening checks at the end of year 1 and more children have reached the expected standard in all key stage 1 subjects.

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9 things you need to know about the new teacher assessment framework for writing at KS1 and KS2

Thanks to Shareen Mayers for this article.

Shareen has been a KS1 moderator for a decade and a KS2 writing moderator for 6 years.  She is the lead moderator and moderation manager for a London LA.

Following the DfE’s response to the assessment consultation this September, we asked Shareen Mayers to share her thoughts on the changes to the teacher assessment framework for writing at key stages 1 and 2. If you’d like to share your thoughts, get in touch with us on @rsassessment.

  • A more flexible approach to the assessment of writing.

It is important to clarify that the more flexible approach to writing does not apply to reading, mathematics or science. They are still assessed as a secure-fit and pupils need to secure all the statements. The more flexible approach also needs to be interpreted with caution. The DfE states, ‘A pupil’s writing should meet all the statements within the standard at which they are judged. However, teachers can use their discretion to ensure that, on occasion, a particular weakness does not prevent an accurate judgement being made of a pupil’s attainment overall. A teacher’s professional judgement about whether the pupil has met the standard overall takes precedence. This approach applies to English writing only.’ This flexibility has been welcomed by many teachers within the profession and has been seen as a sensible approach to writing assessment.

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