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 →

Tennyson Road Primary, Luton

This year’s key stage 2 results paint a national picture of schools struggling to deal with the demands of a tough new curriculum. Just 53 per cent of 11-year-olds reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths in 2016, a drop from 80 per cent in 2015.  But the performance tables reveal that some primaries are coping with the challenge better than others. Continue reading →

Tennyson Road Primary School, Luton

This year’s key stage 2 results paint a national picture of schools struggling to deal with the demands of a tough new curriculum. Just 53 per cent of 11-year-olds reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths in 2016, a drop from 80 per cent in 2015.

But the performance tables reveal that some primaries are coping with the challenge better than others.

At Tennyson Road Primary, in Luton – an authority where results overall were below the national average – 100 per cent of children reached the expected level across the board.

And pupils didn’t just scrape it – average scaled scores (where 100 represents the expected standard) were 109, 110 and 111. To set the achievement in context, the school has a high proportion of pupils with English as an additional language, high mobility and high deprivation. Children start reception with below national average development.

Tennyson Road is an “outstanding” school and used to performing well. However, two years ago, when the results in Year 5 assessments were below what was expected, Head teacher Hilary Power knew the school had to raise its game.

Continue reading →

2017 interim frameworks for teacher assessment

Statutory interim frameworks to support teachers in making assessment judgements for each pupil at the end of key stage 1 and key stage 2 in 2017 have been released.

The interim frameworks set out the standard(s) a pupil will be assessed against at the end of each key stage for reading, writing, mathematics and science.

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 →

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 →

Interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1 and 2: now published

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Interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1 and 2: now published

Following the removal of teacher assessment levels, statutory interim frameworks have been developed to support teachers in making robust and accurate judgements for pupils at the end of key stage 1  and 2 in 2016.

Continue reading →