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

DfE logo

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 →

New KS1 and KS2 tests frameworks and sample papers published

On 29th June, the Department for Education published the final key stage 1 and 2 national curriculum test frameworks and sample papers for 2016, which will be used primarily by test developers and the Standards and Testing Agency throughout the test development process.

Continue reading →

Assessing the new National Curriculum for science

From 2016 statutory teacher assessments of science will continue for all pupils at the end of Key Stage 1. At the end of Key Stage 2 science tests will continue with a sample of schools and pupils. The tests will take place every other year starting in 2016.

In July the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) published sample questions, mark schemes and commentaries for all the new National Curriculum tests that will be introduced from summer 2016, including samples for the new Key Stage 2 sampling test for science. These can all be downloaded from the DfE website. The final versions are due to be published in July 2015.

Features of the sample tests 

  • The format of having an extended question over two pages remains, but now the biology, chemistry and physics elements have been separated into different tests rather than being mixed within one paper (possibly in preparation for secondary school).
  • The questions relate directly to new the Programme of Study. They start with elements from the lower Key Stage 2 Programme of Study and progress to related elements from upper Key Stage 2.
  • There is more emphasis on ’knowledge and understanding’ than on the skills and processes found in ‘working scientifically’, whereas previous tests had more Sc1 questions.
  • The working scientifically questions are still set in the context of the other curriculum areas and are well integrated.
  • The level of difficulty is similar to the previous 2012 tests.

Continue reading →

Performance Descriptors – what they will mean for me and my school

Thank you to Michael Dillon, Head Teacher at Kew Riverside Primary School for this guest post

I recently attended our Local Authority’s (Richmond & Kingston) annual Assessment and Learning Conference, which is always well organised and extremely informative.  Throughout the day there were several excellent speakers and presentations, including South Farnham School[1], the Institute of Education and the assessment consultant and writer Shirley Clarke[2].

However, what was particularly interesting this year, was the presentation by the Standards & Teaching Agency of the draft Performance Descriptors for Key Stage 1 and 2 teacher assessment.  I know that all my colleagues found the information really useful, especially as it was coming directly from the STA.

As you are no doubt are aware these have recently been published and are open for consultation until 18th December 2014.  These will eventually become the new indicators by which performance will be measured for Y2 and Y6.

So what does this mean in practical terms for us in school?  Well, I will be spending the rest of the academic year reviewing our whole school assessment policy.

I know the Performance Descriptors are still in consultation, but we will start with using our next INSET day (January 2015) to read them in more detail and take the opportunity to review them against our curriculum, particularly for Y2 and Y6.  We will also discuss different options available to describe performance.  Finally, and to be honest, most importantly, we will begin to review our assessment culture, assessment principles and what is actually happening in the classroom (our procedures).  Our initial focus will be the quality of the marking in children’s books, including evidence of peer and self assessment. Continue reading →

The new National Curriculum tests: What can we infer from the sample questions?

In July the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) published sample questions, mark schemes and commentaries for the new National Curriculum tests that will be introduced from summer 2016. There are separate samples for English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling and mathematics for each of Key Stages 1 and 2 and also for the new Key Stage 2 sampling test for science. These can all be downloaded from the DfE website. The final versions are due to be published in July 2015.

These exemplars do not give a complete picture of the new tests. For example, they do not

  • include full sample tests (there is a selection of questions instead)
  • reflect the curriculum coverage of the final tests
  • reflect the ratio of question types that will be in the final tests
  • reflect the range of question difficulties that will be in the final tests.

What the exemplars do provide however is an indication of how the new elements of the curriculum will be tested. Note that STA do not recommend that the sample questions be used for assessment purposes as they have not been fully trialled – they are for guidance only.

The sample questions focus on the new areas of the curriculum and there are repeated references to ‘increased demand’. In general, the level of difficulty of questions is higher overall and pupils need to do more to achieve one mark than they do currently.

The language around what each question is testing is a useful introduction for teachers to some of the jargon being used for analysis of Depth of understanding, Computational complexity etc. Such analysis means the test writers will have to be more careful about the overall difficulty level and think very carefully about what the pupil has to do in the process of answering each question. This should lead to improved year on year consistency. Continue reading →

Life at the crossroads

By Ed Walsh,  Lead Consultant for Science with Cornwall Learning and Science Consultant to Rising Stars on the New Curriculum Assessment Science Progress Tests

In some ways being the coordinator of a core subject is like choosing to live by a crossroads – lively, things arriving from all directions, careful management required and highly variable. Teachers need guidance, pupils need inspiration, the SLT needs stories of success and parents and carers want children to succeed.

Continue reading →