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 →
Achievements of pupils in state-funded primary schools in England have now been published.
Just 5 per cent of primary schools have been announced as being below the floor standard. Schools are considered under-performing if fewer than 65 per cent of pupils fail to reach the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, or if they fail to make sufficient progress in these three key areas.
Thanks to Shareen Mayers for this article on vocabulary in the KS2 reading test.
Since the release of the 2016 KS2 reading test, I have been thinking about the vocabulary element in great depth. I have read endlessly about encouraging pupils to read for pleasure, shared reading, skimming and scanning and engendering a love of books, and I whole-heartedly agree with this but something told me to look deeper at the actual words that pupils were expected to know and understand. Indeed, they all seemed a little closer to home than I expected!
To my surprise, most of the words tested were a part of the national curriculum spelling appendix for KS1 and KS2. Words like ‘dangerous,’ ‘curious’ and ‘unique’ are even listed as non-statutory words within the national curriculum and the spelling rules/areas shown in the table below are all in the national curriculum. Of course, we cannot predict the vocabulary but this was interesting to note.
When teaching spellings, it is also important that pupils understand their meaning in different contexts as well as being able to spell them and use some/most of them in their writing.
Provisional information about the 2016 phonics screening check and assessments at KS1 has been released from the DfE, including breakdowns by pupil characteristics.
Thanks to Shareen for sharing the following five tips for teachers.
Many schools have reported that the KS2 reading paper this year was more difficult than expected, so we asked Shareen Mayers to share her thoughts on what we can learn for next year.
- Ditch the old SATs papers!
After visiting many year 6 classrooms this year, I noticed that teachers were still using old reading papers which have a different focus and style to the new test. For example, the new test has an increased emphasis on understanding vocabulary in context. The beginning of the 2016 reading paper was much harder than before, with questions that seemed reminiscent of the old level 4 right from the start of the paper. Though few, there are some practice papers available that are fully in-line with the new-style tests, so it is worth utilising these so that the complexity of the test is not such a surprise next year.
- Explicitly teach new vocabulary
One of the starkest changes this year was the emphasis and focus on pupils understanding vocabulary in context. A huge percentage of the questions were focused on this new content domain. This can be achieved through exposing pupils to a wide range of texts, especially texts from our literary heritage. A free download that can support teachers with teaching strategies is the old National Strategies booklet: Teaching Vocabulary Effectively. Page 9 has some great tips to support teachers with ideas and strategies. Continue reading →
Thanks to Michael Tidd for the following article. Posted May 2016.
It seems fair to say that the interim teacher assessment frameworks have not been warmly welcomed this year. With Year 6 tests out of the way, and Year 2 tests swiftly following suit, attention is turning now in school to the process of teacher assessment for 2016.
Particularly in Writing, that process this year involves a lot of searching for technical features and punctuation throughout pieces of writing – and not much appreciation for the quality of the overall product. Teachers have quickly had to become adept at spotting hyphens and dashes, or finding ways of including exclamation sentences in seven-year-olds’ writing.
For now, it’s a system we’re stuck with, and teachers will find the best ways they can of dealing with it. These Writing Checklists will help both teachers and their students to provide the relevant evidence for this year, but what of the future? What are the alternatives?
One possible alternative is the return of tests. They probably wouldn’t return in their current form, having not that long ago been scrapped, but it would be possible to insist on the completion of common tasks nationally which could return to being externally assessed. One of the significant issues also exists in the current systems – teacher assistance. Having seen coursework at GCSE scrapped because of the difficulties of ensuring a level playing field, it seems that anything short of test conditions could be fraught with difficulty. Continue reading →
The Department for Education has released the 2016 key stage 2 national test papers to download online. Follow the links below to view the materials.
The Department for Education has announced that in 2016 there will be no requirement to administer the KS1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test or to use the result as part of that assessment. You can read the full administration guidance on the DfE website here.
Thank you to Shareen Mayers for the following helpful summary of recent updates and changes in writing moderation.
The following article includes useful information about:
- Writing moderation changes
- Using the Interim Assessment Frameworks to assess pupils’ writing
- KS1 and KS2 Writing Materials
- Clarification of handwriting and joined up/cursive handwriting for KS1 and KS2
- Gathering evidence – what does ‘independent writing’ mean?
- Essential requirements for schools
- Official STA Clarification of the frequency of evidence in each piece
- STA Clarification on exclamations for KS1 and KS2
Every LA has the flexibility to carry out the moderation process according to local needs. However, it is statutory to use the Interim Assessment Framework as a checklist to check that pupils have met the ‘working towards’, ‘expected’ or ‘greater depth’ within the expected standard. Continue reading →