Implications for Teaching and Learning 2016

Every year, Rising Stars commissions a team of experienced teachers and consultants to review the Key Stage 2 national test papers and provide analysis of the questions to help schools focus on these areas when preparing children for future tests.

Implications for Teaching and Learning Reports 2016:

  • have been written by an expert team to provide reliable information and analysis
  • can help to inform your preparation for the 2017 national tests
  • can be used in conjunction with the Achieve resources to help improve next year’s results. Continue reading →

Key stage 2 national tests and the shared mission

Thanks to Michael Tidd for this article. 

There’s something of a murmuring among Year 6 teachers that when it comes to SATs, if things go well then the credit is shared across the school, but when things go wrong, it’s the Year 6 team who get the blame. Of course, those who work in other year groups would probably just as soon argue that it’s the reverse that’s true.

The truth is, of course, that Year 6 results are inevitably a representation of the work done by all of the teachers who come into contact with children during their time with us. That’s never been truer than today, as we emerge from analysing the results of the first of the new style tests.

For the past couple of years we have been working blind, only able to draw on our own experience of the curriculum to estimate what might crop up and how best we can prepare our pupils. Now we’ve seen the tests and frameworks for real, we can start to make some more informed changes to how we work – and not only in Year 6.

Naturally thoughts will go first to identifying the gaps that need filling for current Year 6 cohorts. Good assessment in school, linked to our knowledge of the tests can help here. Continue reading →

KS2 progress measures: key information and the national picture

Thanks to Deputy Head teacher Michael Tidd for this article.

Head teachers will have been frantically logging on to the DfE website today to find out how their schools have done in the new progress measures following this summer’s new KS2 tests – even though many schools still haven’t started the new term yet! It’s left many of us unprepared, and probably many more scrabbling around for the key login details.

Getting your school’s data

Head teachers will have been sent login details for the Tables Checking website, including a password which was sent out by post last week. For schools whose post is held by the Royal Mail over the holidays, that may now mean an anxious wait. There is a helpline and email address on the Tables Checking site for those who can’t hang on for the postman!

Once logged in, you will be able to complete a data checking exercise, as in previous years, to ensure that data is accurate before it goes into the final version of Raise Online. You’ll also be able to see your school’s progress measures for each of the three key subjects: Reading, Writing and Maths. These scores are all-important for the new floor standard – particularly for the majority of schools who did not reach the 65% attainment thresholds.

These figures are simple numbers, roughly in the range of -10 to 10. A score of 0 in any given subject means that children at your school – on average – made the same progress as others of a similar ability nationally in that subject. Positive scores suggest your children did better than the average nationally, and negative scores suggest that progress was not as good as the national average. Importantly, negative scores do not necessarily mean that your school is in trouble. Continue reading →

Changes to the National Tests and what you need to know – Key Stage 2

Thanks to Deputy Head Michael Tidd for researching and writing this article, which we hope will be a great time-saver for our readers!

From September, we will once again have all children in our primary schools working on a single National Curriculum. We’ll also be just months away from the first of the new style of National Curriculum Tests for Key Stages 1 and 2. Now the final frameworks and sample tests have been published, there are some minor changes. However, other changes are much more notable. In my last article, I focused on changes in Key Stage 1. Here is a quick ‘need to know’ guide for Key Stage 2.

Key Stage 2

National Curriculum Tests at Key Stage 2 seem to have changed repeatedly in the last few years, so the changes in 2016 will perhaps be not so much a shock as a feeling of ongoing change. Nevertheless, there are some significant areas that are worthy of teachers’ attention in KS2. Of course, the tests also see the final removal of levels, with scores being given as a scaled score for each subject instead; 100 will represent ‘the expected standard’.

In maths, the major change is the introduction of an arithmetic paper in lieu of the old mental mathematics test. The arithmetic paper will have 35–40 questions, most of which will be worth one mark, requiring use of discrete arithmetic skills ranging from basic addition and subtraction to calculations with fractions. The questions are all in the form of calculations – there are no words. At 40 marks, this paper will make up just over one-third of the total available marks, further emphasising the focus on number and calculations in the new curriculum. Continue reading →

2016 School Performance Tables – what can we expect?

Thanks to Nick Hart for this helpful summary.

Key stage 2 SATs are over for another year.  Individual children’s results have been known for a couple of months now thanks to NCA Tools and consequently we know the percentages of our cohorts that met the expected standard for Year 6.  When the DfE publish the school performance tables in December 2016, we’ll know a little more about how we’ve done.

The headline measures of performance remain: attainment, progress and therefore whether or not the floor standard has been met.  In addition to the attainment data that we already know, we’ll see the proportion of children that attained the higher standard, which consists of scaled scores of 110+ in reading and maths and a greater depth judgement in writing.  The much talked about progress measure (comparing individual children’s progress against the average progress made by children nationally with similar starting points) will arrive too.  Our cohort’s average progress will be the overall progress measure for our school.  Then, of course, these measures are used to judge whether or not we have met the floor target.  With just 53% of pupils nationally attaining the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, and national average scaled scores of 103 for reading and maths, many leaders will be waiting on that progress data… Continue reading →

Scaled scores at key stage 1

In summer 2016, primary schools will use teacher assessment judgements to report on children’s progress at the end of key stage 1. These judgements should take into account a child’s performance in the national tests in mathematics and English. This year, the Department for Education will use scaled scores to report the outcomes of the national tests. The number of marks that children will need to score in order to reach a scaled score of 100 in 2016 has now been released. Have a look at our brief summary below for further information.

What is a scaled score?

A child’s scaled score is based on their raw score. The raw score is the total number of marks a child scores in a test. You can calculate a child’s raw score by adding together the total scores from both papers in each subject. For example, to calculate a child’s raw score for English reading, simply add together the scores from both the English reading Paper 1 and English reading Paper 2.

A scaled score of 100 will always represent the expected standard on the test. Children scoring 100 or more will have met the expected standard. The raw score is converted into a scaled score, using the conversion table here

The marks required to reach a scaled score of 100 at KS1 in 2016 are:

– Maths: 37 out of 60

– Reading: 22 out of 40

– Grammar, punctuation and spelling: 25 out of 40 Continue reading →

Can uncertainty be liberating when it comes to primary assessment?

With thanks to Deputy Head Michael Tidd for this thought-provoking article.

They say that ignorance is bliss, and the past few years have provided us with a whole host of unknowns to add to our blissful state!

Except, when you’re a teacher on whom the education of 30+ pupils depend, working in a system of strong accountability and high stakes, the unknowns are often simply unnerving. I sometimes feel like I’m trying to second-guess what’s in the mind of the Department for Education and trying to work out what ‘expected’ looks like.

All of which would be easier if it was fixed in stone well in advance. We’ve already seen in the past year how tweaks are still being made to the system. Last summer, I can’t have been alone in worrying about the outcomes for my pupils on the Optional Tests. Now as we approach the first set of statutory tests, we know that things are perhaps not quite as bad as they first seemed.

The test frameworks were republished in July, and changes contained within them suggest a slightly less frightening expectation for the forthcoming tests. But we have to come to terms with the fact that for a year or two yet, we just won’t be able to say with certainty how many marks will be needed to reach ‘the expected standard’.

Once you accept that, it can actually be quite liberating. Instead of worrying about the individual points and the tallies on test results, we can instead look at what children can and can’t do, and explore ways of helping all children to make better progress. 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 →

On-screen times table test to be introduced as part of KS2 national tests

It was reported yesterday that all children will be tested on their times tables as part of their KS2 national tests. Unveiled by education secretary Nicky Morgan on 3rd January, the tests will examine the multiplication skills of every 11-year-old. Children will be expected to know their tables up to 12×12 and will be tested using an “on-screen check”.

Continue reading →