The launch of RS Assessment from Hodder Education

By Katie Blainey, Publishing Director

I’m delighted to be sharing news of an exciting collaboration!

Over the years, Rising Stars has become the assessment provider of choice for over 11,500 primary schools, whilst Hodder Education has been providing rigorous tests to schools for over 40 years. This term we are pleased to bring together two of the most trusted names in education to launch RS Assessment from Hodder Education, to make it even easier for you to access the support and resources you need.

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What are the challenges in assessing pupils working below the expected standard?

Thanks to Lorraine Petersen, Independent Educational Consultant – Former Chief Executive of Nasen, for the following article.

 

Setting the scene

Statutory assessment plays an important role in ensuring that every child is supported to leave primary school prepared to succeed. It is crucial that every school is able to demonstrate every pupil’s personal attainment and progress not just at the end of a key stage but throughout their primary education.

Those pupils who have not completed the relevant programmes of study when they reach the appropriate age for statutory assessments do not have the knowledge and skills to achieve expected standard in the national curriculum tests. This is a diverse group including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), those from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with English as an additional language. Schools have to look for other ways to monitor and celebrate success and progress for this group of pupils.

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KS2 National Curriculum Assessment Results

On 31st August the DfE released the results of the KS2 national curriculum assessments and information about the 2017 performance tables.

 

2017 KS2 SATs results

This year there has been an increase in the proportion of pupils achieving both the expected standard and the higher standard in reading, writing and mathematics, compared with 2016.

The proportion of pupil’s achieving the expected standard has increased by 8 percentage points, from 53% in 2016 to 61% in 2017, and those attaining the higher standard has also increased from 5% to 9%. Continue reading →

How preparing for the SATs is like training for a marathon

Thanks to Cerys Hadwin-Owen, Assessment Publisher for RS Assessment for Hodder Education, for the following article.

On the face of it, training for a marathon and preparing for SATs might seem like completely different experiences. However many assessment experts have recognised the similarities between sport and assessment in the past (including Daisy Christodoulou in her latest book). Here at RS Assessment from Hodder Education, we find it really helpful when explaining to schools and teachers how our wide range of assessment resources work together, and amidst the very valid concerns around over-testing that face both primary and secondary schools in the current climate, we feel it’s an analogy worth sharing.

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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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Department for Education publicly release test materials from this year’s Key Stage 2 national tests

On 22nd May 2017 the Department for Education have publicly released the test materials from this year’s Key Stage 2 national tests.  These include test papers and mark schemes for Maths, English reading and English grammar, spelling and punctuation sat by KS2 pupils in May 2017. 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!

Reading

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?

Grammar

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 →

What are the benefits of regularly checking children’s attainment?

Thanks to Camilla Erskine for this article.

What are the benefits of regularly checking children’s attainment?

The main purpose of checking attainment is to see how children are doing in relation to what has been taught and using the information from that process to inform teaching. Assessment plays a key role in monitoring attainment in this way and this article illustrates its use for both summative and formative purposes.

Teachers will have a good sense of how each child is performing from their day-to-day teaching, but summative assessment can provide independent evidence of attainment to school leaders, parents and the children themselves. The information from such assessment can also challenge assumptions and preconceptions and offer more nuanced information about how a child is doing, potentially highlighting ‘blind spots’ or gaps in knowledge.

How can attainment be checked?

Regular attainment checks throughout the year, for example at the end of a unit of work or on a half-termly basis, can be carried out using a range of assessment resources. These can include tests and tasks created within the school or published materials. The main advantage of using assessments developed by teachers is that they are written specifically to reflect what has been taught over the period for which attainment is being monitored. This approach, however, is time consuming and is not something that everyone feels confident in doing, or has the experience to do effectively. Continue reading →