KS1 and KS2 Assessments
KS1 and KS2 Assessment against Age Expectations
Information for Parents
From September 2015, the Government changed in the way that children in schools were assessed from levels of attainment to a system which assesses against age expectations. The aim of this information is to give you an understanding of all the changes that have occured in Education across the country and what that means for the children in our school. 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.
I have highlighted the main changes to the key core subjects below.
The new programme of study for English has a clear focus is on knowing, understanding and applying grammatical terminology rather than developing skills and understanding. It is also characterized by an increased emphasis on the technical aspects of language and less emphasis on the creative aspects. English is set out year by year in Key Stage 1 and over two years (3&4, 5&6) in Key Stage 2. Appendices give specific content to be covered in the areas of spelling and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. These are set out yearly across both key stages.
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. Two of these, number and geometry, are further divided
into subdomains. The way that the curriculum is organized varies across the primary age range – every year group has a unique combination of domains and subdomains. There is no longer a separate strand of objectives related to using and applying mathematics. Instead, there are reasoning objectives within the other areas of study. Most of the changes to the mathematics curriculum involve content being brought down to earlier years.
Why has the system changed?
The DfE wanted 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 4 or even a level 5. The DfE thought that a significant number of pupils 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. Under the old levels system children who were exceeding might have moved into the next level. The DfE now want children who are the highest achievers to add more depth and breadth to their knowledge, and to have more opportunities to develop their using and applying skills. Only very exceptional children will move into working towards the end of year expectations from the year above. Similarly, small numbers of children who are working below the age expected standard may work towards the expectations from the year below.
Assessing Without Levels: the TPPS Approach (Tattenhall Park Primary School)
When the DfE announced that there would no longer be National Curriculum levels, and that schools would have to set up their own way of assessing pupils, the staff team at TPPS spent a lot of time researching and developing different methods of assessment and we have now developed our own system for tracking attainment and progress.
Reading, Writing and Maths will be assessed by teacher judgment and evidence of learning that the children demonstrate in their everyday lessons. This is judged against the expectations contained in the New National Curriculum and teachers assess against the objectives using an electronic system called target Tracker. All other subjects will be assessed against the Programmes of Study for each subject. The new Curriculum states that, “By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant Programme of Study.”
Teacher assessment is ongoing and is informed by observations, feedback from lessons and supported by testing. The tests are analysed by staff to identify objectives for which the pupil has a secure understanding and objectives which need further development. The level of understanding will range from the child have experience of them, to the child being secure in the understanding. For pupils who have demonstrated an ability to apply their understanding through reasoning, this might indicate a child has mastered a given objective.
Target Tracker measures the progress of pupils through the year in steps. Expected progress is 6 steps in 12 months. As Target Tracker has been introduced at the end of the Autumn term, expected progress this academic year will be 4 steps between end of Autumn term 2016 to the end of the Summer term 2017.
I hope that you find this information useful to help you understand why and how assessment has changed. Of course, if you have any questions, please ask your child’s class teacher.
Mrs Jo Hawkins Headteacher