CHANGES TO THE WAY SCHOOLS ASSESS PUPIL PROGRESS
Assessment Without Levels
The Government has made a huge change in the way that children in schools are to be assessed. This is to tie in with the New National Curriculum that is to be used by all. This is a new way of thinking for schools, and assessment will look very different to how it has done for the past 20 years. The aim of this guide is to hopefully give you some clear information about all the changes that are happening in Education across the country, and what that means for the children here at Chipping Warden Primary Academy. The new system we are using has been developed with our academy partners (7 schools). Teachers meet from all schools to moderate each other’s assessment decisions. By doing this, we are ensuring consistency and a common system (there is no national system). Before we even think about assessment we need to be clear on what changes the new curriculum has brought to subjects that are traditionally assessed.
There have been many changes to the curriculum, too many to mention here but to give you an idea these are the key changes to English and Maths:
English is set out year by year in Key Stage 1 and two-yearly in Key Stage 2. There is specific content to be covered in the areas of spelling and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. These are set out yearly across both key stages.
Mathematics - The main areas in the new programme of study for mathematics are called domains. These are number, measurement, geometry, statistics, ratio and proportion and algebra. Most of the changes to the mathematics curriculum involve content being brought down to earlier years, for example: what used to be taught in Year 7/8 is now covered in Year 6: what was covered in Year 6 is expected at Year 4, this is true across the school.
The End of Curriculum Levels
The Department for Education (DfE) decided that the children who were last year in Years 2 and 6 would be the last pupils to be awarded a Level in their end of Key Stage tests (Summer 2015). So why are levels disappearing? The feeling from the DfE was that the old National Curriculum and the levels system failed to adequately ensure that children had a breadth and depth of knowledge at each National Curriculum level.
Assessing Without Levels
The DfE announced last year that there would no longer be National Curriculum levels, and that schools would have to set up their own way of assessing pupils. We have spent time researching various different methods of assessing pupils and discussed this with the other local schools in our cluster of academies. Assessment is now similar to the system used in the Early Years and Foundation Stage. This takes the end of year expectations for each year group and splits into 5 categories as follows:
Before - Yet to be secure in the end of year expectations.
Emerging - Working towards the end of year expectations.
Within - many of the end of year expectations have been met
Secure - almost all of the end of year expectations have been met and starting to use and apply knowledge and skills.
Exceeding - Secure in all of the end of year expectations and able to use and apply their knowledge and skills confidently (Working in the next year already)
Under the old levels system children who were ‘Advanced’ might have moved into the next level. The DfE now want children who are in this bracket to add more depth and breadth to their knowledge, and to have more opportunities to develop their using and applying skills. This is what we mean by ‘Depth’.
Assessing Without Levels
The biggest difference is how we will talk to you about how your child is progressing during the year. This is very important to realise for the upcoming Parent Consultation Evening. At the start of each year group, every child will be ‘Before’ or ‘Emerging’ as they are being judged against the End of Year statements for that particular year group. By using their professional knowledge and judgement teachers will know what the children can already do and what they think the children can achieve. They will then give a forecast as to where they think a child will be by the end of the year.
Due to the big changes in the curriculum many children will be at ‘Emerging’ at this stage in the year and we expect the majority of children to be ‘Within’ or ‘Secure’ in their year group expectations by the end of the Summer term.
Please do come and see us if you would like more information.