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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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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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.

  Continue reading →

Formative assessment as an integrated part of good practice in the classroom

Thanks to Siobhan Skeffington  for the following article.

Siobhan Skeffington is an education consultant, author and reviewer also involved in test development and Primary Teacher for 26 years including SLT and Leading teacher.

Formative and summative assessments are very different.  Summative assessment gives a picture of how the child is progressing at any given point and enables teachers and schools to gauge the overall attainment; this can also be used for accountability purposes. Formative assessment needs to be part of everyday practice and lesson planning, as it focuses on improving learning.

Assessment is often seen as a tool to be planned for in the form of a spelling or mental maths test. Teachers and senior leaders can often feel pressurised to do constant mini summative tests believing these give a clear indication of how pupils are performing. These tests can be informative but the best formative assessment or ‘assessment for learning’ is through the conversations between the children and the teachers during the normal course of the day.  Through carefully planned questioning, open ended activities and marking that allows children to review their own work, formative assessment can give teachers a wealth of information to use when planning the next steps for learning.  If used appropriately, they will have identified any misconceptions or gaps in knowledge and will be better-able to determine what the children actually know.

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What can we learn from the 2017 KS2 reading and grammar test?

What can we learn from the 2017 KS2 reading and grammar test?

Thanks for Shareen Mayers for the following article.

After the challenging reading paper in 2016, many teachers were pleasantly surprised by the 2017 reading paper. The questions seemed to be a little more accessible and the texts appeared to be more relevant to year 6 pupils, especially the English Channel text. Shareen Mayers shares some of her key top tips for teachers and schools!

You can view the 2017 test papers here.


1. Explicitly teach new vocabulary

Once again, the KS2 reading paper had a huge percentage of questions focussed on understanding vocabulary in context (20%). This was the same percentage as last year but some of the words were more familiar. Interestingly, the vocabulary used are all linked to the KS1 and KS2 spelling rules. For example, -ed words, -al words, -ous words and -ing words. Therefore, the spelling rules can also be used to support the pitch of vocabulary that teachers need to expose pupils to in every year group. Please see my blog on vocabulary in the KS2 reading paper. Continue reading →

Key Stage 2 National Tests 2017: Thoughts and feedback from Deputy Head Michael Tidd

Thanks to Michael Tidd for this article.

Well, that’s that all over with for another year! After all the hard work – of both teachers and students – over the past months and years, the SATs finally came and went. So what did we make of them? It certainly could have been worse!


Those of us who suffered through the traumas of the Reading test of 2016 were prepared for the worst on Monday, and in most cases were pleasantly surprised. That’s not to say that it was easy, but it did at least feel fair. In 2016 even the first text seemed designed to cause nightmares for us all, and the first few questions didn’t help. For 2017 we were treated to a tolerable, if not gripping, text about a cat in a tree and some multiple choice questions to ease us in.

My one complaint? Dropping a bit of Spanish into a reading test seems a little unfair. If you speak Spanish fluently or not at all, then maybe it’s not so bad, but how many Year 6 children up and down the country spent valuable seconds trying to translate the Spanish based on their rudimentary Key Stage 2 knowledge?


On Tuesday morning I was praying to the spelling gods for kind words. And then they gave us ‘coarse’. But first, the grammar to get through. For the second day in a row I found myself using the word “fair”. I tend not to look too closely at what children are writing during tests, because it only upsets me, but with the grammar test, the first answer I doubted when looking over somebody’s shoulder turned out to be correct: I’d not read the question properly! Continue reading →