From September 2014, 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 started to be used by all schools at the beginning of this academic year. This is a new way of thinking for schools, and assessment will look very different to how it has done for the past twenty years. The aim of this guide is to hopefully give you some clear information about the changes that are happening and what that means for the children here at Temple Normanton Primary School
The End of Curriculum Levels
The Department for Education (DfE) has decided that the children who are currently in Years 2 and 6 will be the last pupils to be awarded a level in their end of Key Stage tests (Summer 2015).
So why are levels disappearing?
The DfE want to avoid what has been termed ‘The Level Race’ where children have moved through the old National Curriculum levels quickly to achieve higher attainment. The old National Curriculum was sub-divided into levels, but these were not linked to their national curriculum year group. For example, a child in Year 4 could be a Level 3 or even a level 5. Children were achieving Level 5 and 6 at the end of Key Stage 2, but the DfE thought that a significant number were able to achieve a Level 5 or 6 in a test—but were not secure at that level. 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. This is to take the End of Year Expectations for each year group and to split this into 3 categories. We are going to adapt the same system as used in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Emerging— yet to be secure in the end of year expectations.
Expected—secure in the majority of the end of year expectations.
Exceeding—secure in almost all or all the end of year expectations and is able to use and apply their knowledge and skills confidently.
Under the old levels system children who were exceeding might have moved into the next level. The DfE now want children who are in the exceeding bracket to add more depth and breadth to their knowledge, and to have more opportunities to develop their using and applying skills. They are calling this phase of learning Mastery and Depth. Only exceptional children will move into working towards the end of year expectations from the year above. Similarly, children who are unlikely to be emerging at the end of the year may work towards the expectations from the year below. So how will this look at the end of each Key Stage?
Key Stage 1
It is anticipated that the majority of children will reach the assessment point of Year 2 expected, a smaller number of children will reach Year 2 exceeding, and a small number will be Year 2 emerging, or possibly Year 1 exceeding/expected/emerging.
Key Stage 2
It is anticipated that the majority of children will reach Yr6 expected. Similar to Year 2 there will be some children who may be Year 6 exceeding and some children who are Year 6 emerging.
There may also be a small number of children who are still working at a lower level e.g. Year 4/5 exceeding/expected/emerging. The new National Curriculum sets out expectations for each year group and children will be assessed against those every year, so a child in Year 4 will always be judged in the first instance against the expectations for the end of Year 4.
So how will the process in school work?
In each autumn term, by October/November the teachers will have had an opportunity to assess how the children are working. At the start of each year group, every child will be emerging/low as they are being judged against the End of Year statements. 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. So, for example, children in Year 3 could be given a forecast of 3L, 3S OR 3H. Only very exceptional children will have a forecast from a higher or lower year group. As far as we are aware Year 6 Exceeding (High) is likely to be the highest grading for the end of Key Stage 2.
During the year, when we have conversations with you about your child’s progress you won’t be given an actual definitive position of where they are on this scale. Instead you will be told whether your child is on track to meet their end of year target. It may well be that they are above or below where they need to be, in which case their end of year target may be adjusted.
What will Change?
We will change how we describe your child’s progress and achievement.
What will remain the same?
Continue to set challenging targets and plan according to child’s need.
We will continue to develop a curriculum which incorporates these targets.
We will continue to assess and review using both formative and summative assessment.
We will continue to report to parents on a regular basis.
We will continue to track progress and respond appropriately.
We will continue to develop a long term ‘picture’ of how your child is developing across time.
We hope that you find this guide useful to help you understand why assessment has changed and how assessment has change.