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 →

The “intelligence toolkit” approach to measuring pupil progress

Following the removal of levels, schools across the country have been getting to grips with how to measure pupil progress in a way which works best for them (rather than simply re-creating a system of levels).

Simon Cowley, a teacher from The White Horse Federation, has written a blog describing their approach which focuses on knowing the child, rather than on collecting statistical data that is not relevant to improving pupil outcomes. He refers to their approach as using the “intelligence toolkit”, which we’ve summarised below.

The “intelligence toolkit” is about:

  • observing and understandinglearning behaviours of a learner – how do they engage with learning and how can teachers best enable this
  • understanding whatwork scrutiny is telling you with regard to pace, precision, thought and the developmental processes over time
  • statistical data, the benchmarking against national norms which tell you if a child is working within age related expectations
  • understanding theemotional intelligence of the learner, the personal attributes which help you to focus the learning experiences to gain maximum output
  • mapping curriculum coverage, understanding if the learning deficit is because of an inability to understand or an act of omission in the curriculum previously taught
  • theagility of transference, how well is a pupil able to transfer prior learning by being a discerning and discriminating user of that which they know.

Rather than collecting statistical data throughout the year, teachers are given electronic progression sheets for reading, writing, maths and science. The sheets monitor curriculum coverage and gaps in learning, and have clear performance statements that teachers can use to inform them about whether a child is on track to meet expectations. Continue reading →

2016 teacher assessment exemplification materials now published for English, mathematics and science

The 2016 teacher assessment exemplification materials are now available for Key Stage 1 and 2 in English, mathematics and science. These exemplification materials have been published by the Department for Education to support teacher assessment of each pupil at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2.

Continue reading →

Do Less, But Better: A Mantra for Teaching (and Testing)

Thank you to Michael Tidd for this insightful article. 

I have something of a mantra in teaching: Do Less, But Better. I try to do less marking, but make it of higher quality; I spend less time on planning pro formas but plan better sequences of lessons; often I ask children to write less in their books, but make each sentence better.

Testing is no exception: less testing, but better. The slight twist here is that less testing, for me, means more tests. It sounds paradoxical at first, but it’s an important differentiation. Testing can be long-winded and onerous, while achieving little. I can’t be alone in having spent hours marking multiple test papers only to come up with a sub-level that I could have guessed for myself. The old ways of testing were too driven by numbers.

Now I probably use tests more than ever, but the key is in selecting tests purposefully and keeping them as tight as possible. No longer do we run through past papers in full depth. Instead, I choose the right questions to match the key points I’ve been teaching, and use as short a test as possible to achieve the understanding I need. We know, too, from wide-ranging research, that the ‘testing effect’ can actually help children to secure the learning they’ve undertaken as the retrieval of that knowledge or skill can help to cement the understanding. 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 →

Writing exemplification materials and the implications for teaching

Thank you to Maddy Barnes for this article. 

As English lead at a one form entry primary school and LA moderator in Manchester, I have eagerly awaited the writing exemplification materials. Like many, I have spent time analysing what the main implications for teaching will be in order to ensure that as many of our pupils achieve at least the expected standard at KS1 and KS2.

These are my main findings:

I was very reassured to see within the annotated materials the section that references the commentary of the piece as a whole, its overall composition in terms of appropriateness to purpose and audience, its organization and cohesion and any edits made during the process. This confirmed that although purpose and audience are not explicitly referred to in the interim framework statements, they are considered as part of the assessment. I will be re-enforcing the message in my setting that in order for our pupils to write at their best, we must provide a high quality stimulus (picture book, extract, object, text, film clip, picture etc.…) and analyse the purpose of the writing and the nature of the audience.

It also pleased me to find that the large majority of pieces of writing included at both KS1 and at KS2 were writing activities related to a text – Anne Fine, Shakespeare, Julia Donaldson, Gareth Edwards, Philippa Pearce, C.S. Lewis and Michael Morpurgo are some listed. As we are a school that teach English around a book, I feel that we are indeed ‘doing things right.’ Pupils are emerged in a high quality text, they read and analyse the language before planning a piece of writing that they will later edit and proof read. 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 →

It’s time to leave your old curriculum questions behind

Thanks to our guest blogger and Deputy Head teacher Michael Tidd for the following article.

Where do you keep yours? We all have them somewhere, often hidden out of view, but ready to be pulled out and used at any moment.

I’m talking, of course, of old test papers. They’re usually stacked in a cupboard somewhere, often in increasingly-tatty boxes with hastily-scrawled labels on them. In many cases, there are papers there that are older than the children in our classrooms. Chances are, there’ll be at least one for which the mark scheme has long since disappeared.

It’s time to let go. It’s hard, but necessary. Clear the shelf-space, fill the recycling bin, and enter the brave new world. They’re redundant, like it or not, and their time has passed. If it helps, keep a copy of each for posterity. After all, it seems harsh to discard Evelyn Glennie and Sharon Brown the lorry driver entirely.

Why am I urging the previously unthinkable? Because the new curriculum is here, the new tests are on the horizon, and assessment needs to change. We know that the tests are now useless as a predictor of success in the new tests: for a start, a level is meaningless in the new word of scaled scores. More importantly, the tests no longer assess the content we are required to teach.

There’ll be those who argue that sitting a test is still good practice. And I agree. But there are new tests that match the new curriculum that serve this need more effectively. Others will say that the questions are still a good assessment tool, and there I agree again. But sitting three maths test papers for the benefit of a handful of diagnostic points is overkill. Why make children sit through papers with questions on probability and modal averages that they’ll not need to reach the expected standard for at the end of the Key Stage? Continue reading →