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 →

The Year 6 SATs are over, so what next for Year 5?

Thanks to Ruth Duckworth, Year 6 Teacher/Writing Lead at Christ Church C of E Primary School, for this really insightful piece full of handy hints and tips for transitioning your Year 5s into Year 6.

The Year 6 SATs are over for another year; writing pieces will soon complete the end of Key Stage 2 assessments and many staff will breathe more easily for a few weeks – until ‘data day’ in early July. So, many of you will be thinking about the next cohort to come into Year 6. 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 →

National Curriculum Assessments at Key Stage 2

On 14th December, the DfE released the revised results of the KS2 national curriculum assessments, and a summary of school level results.

Summary of 2017 KS2 national curriculum assessments

  • This year, 61% of pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics, compared to 53% in 2016, an increase of 8 percentage points.
  • Over half of schools (57%) have attainment proportions of at least the national average.
  • At the higher standard, 9% reached the higher standard in reading, writing and mathematics in 2017, compared to 5% in 2016.
  • In 2017, 65% of girls achieved the expected standard in all of reading, writing and mathematics compared to 57% of boys.
  • There are fewer schools below the floor standard in 2017. 511 schools are below the floor standard (4% of state funded, mainstream schools), compared to 665 school (5%) in 2016.
  • More schools fell within the coasting definition this year – 524 schools (4%) which is a 10 percent increase on 477 schools (3%) defined as coasting in 2016.

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Improving Mathematics in Key Stages 2 and 3

Thanks to John Dabell for this article.

Improving Mathematics in Key Stages 2 and 3’ is the latest report from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and presents sharp, intelligent and actionable guidance to support “great maths teaching” in primary and secondary schools.

The guidance is relevant to all pupils but in particular to those children who fall below their expected level of mathematics achievement. The report adopts the premise that it is essential to see maths as a pump rather than a filter in the pipeline of education but this can only be achieved through tapping into what works and is supported by research.

A vital enabler in the strengthening of teaching, learning and assessment is good access to relevant evidence; this report can help guide teachers towards this as its key focus is to promote a culture of evidence-led best practice.

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