“Assessment is an integral part of teaching and lies at the heart of promoting pupils’ education. It should provide information which is clear, reliable and free from bias.”
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. 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 Hugh Gaitskell.
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 a long time with the other schools in the South Leeds Learning Trust researching various different methods of assessing pupils, and we have had demonstrations of various commercial tracking systems. We have decided the take the system created by ‘Rising Stars’ and develop it to meet the needs of our learners.
So how will the process in school work?
Teachers will use the new 'Rising Stars' system to continuously assess children to find out whether children are working towards expectations, meeting expectations or working at greater depth within their year group. This will help teachers to find any gaps in children’s learning and to know when they are ready to move on to more challenging learning. Our new system will use the teacher judgments to produce a score. This score will come in the form of a stage and a medal colour.
End of year scores:
Bronze-Well below age related expectations
Silver- Below age related expectations (working towards)
Gold- At age related expectations (meeting expectations)
Platinum- Working at greater depth within the expected standard
The Stage that most children will be assessed at will relate to their year group e.g. a child in Year Three may receive a score of Stage 3 Silver. Sometimes, pupils will need to 'plug gaps' from previous stages before they are able to access and achieve objectives within their own Stage. If your child has a Special Educational Need or Disability it may also be appropriate for them to be assessed on a different stage.
By the end of the academic year children who have met their year group expectations will be given a score of their stage and ‘Gold’ e.g. Stage 4 Gold for a Year Four pupil.
Under the old levels system children who were exceeding expectations 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 be given a medal colour of ‘platinum’.
So why have levels disappeared?
The Department for Education (DfE) have decided that the children who were in Years 2 and 6 last year would be the last pupils to be awarded a level in their end of Key Stage tests (Summer 2015).
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 ensure that children had a breadth and depth of knowledge at each national curriculum level.
Changes to SATs
Now that a new National Curriculum is in place and levels have been removed there are some changes to the way SATs will run.
End of KS1 SATS (Y2)
From 2015-16 a new statutory end of KS1 test for Reading, Maths & Spelling Punctuation And Grammar will be introduced and will be reported in a scaled score. The results from these tests will inform the teacher assessment result that will be reported to parents and the DfE.
End of KS2 SATS (Y6)
From 2015-16, a new externally marked test will be introduced for Maths, Reading, Writing and SPAG, and will be reported in a scaled score (80-120, with 100 meaning they have achieved the expected standard)
Reporting To Parents
Each half term your child’s teacher will inform you of your child’s score. We will also let you know whether your child is on track to meet their end of year expectations.
You may find that your child was previously meeting their age related expectation when they were given a level but their new score may show that they are not at age related expectations for their year group. This does not mean your child has gone backwards. We must keep in mind that the new National Curriculum has significantly higher expectations of children’s knowledge, skills and understanding. It may take time to close the gap between the old expectations and the new expectations (especially for children in Key Stage Two).
Any support and encouragement you can give your child will be beneficial.
- Listen to your child read every day
- Help them to learn their times tables and spellings
- Encourage them to complete their weekly Learning Log tasks
Half-termly attainment slips to parents