TS6: Assessment

March 8, 2019 4:34 pm

There are a range of statutory assessments both in primary and secondary schools that aim to help support children so that they leave primary school with the best footing possible. These assessments are put in place in order for teachers to raise their standards as well as giving children the best chances to master reading, writing and arithmetic which are fundamental in preparing them for secondary school. The new statutory assessments have been updated to abide with the national curriculum.

According to the DfE, statutory assessments in primary school are based on four key principles which aim to provide ‘rigorous, reliable and trusted data’ that can be used to help inform and accurately measure the progress a school makes with their pupils. They should also reflect that schools are ambitious for all of their pupils, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances as well as being proportionate.

EYFS is a statutory year group and as a result of a 2017 primary assessment consultation, a baseline is to be introduced in 2020 to assess the progress that children make from starting primary school to the end of EYFS as well as the end of KS2.

There is a phonics check at the end of year one with the requirement to repeat this in year two if they do not meet the required standard.

Currently in KS1 teacher assessment in mathematics and reading is informed by externally set and marked tests (SATs). There is also the option for an externally set test in grammar, punctuation and spelling which is intended to inform teachers’ assessments of writing. These tests reflect the new national curriculum and results are calculated to give a scaled score. By doing this children’s progress can be reported on a consistent scale from one year to another. Each child will also receive a result that informs them whether or not they have met the required standard on the test. These tests inform teacher assessments for mathematics, reading and writing and allows them to assess whether children are working towards the expected standard, working at the expected standard or working at greater depth. Science is also assessed by teacher assessment. If children are assessed as not working towards the expected standard, teachers refer back to the P Scales. These were made statutory in 2017 for pupils with SEN to ensure that they are working at the appropriate level. The existing KS1 assessments – both national curriculum tests and teacher assessments – will become non-statutory once the EYFS baseline has been established. The earliest dates that this can happen is 2022/23 as this will allow for the first cohort of EYFS pupils to reach the end of KS1.

At the end of KS2 pupils will have to sit another set of SATs tests; again focusing on mathematics, reading and grammar, punctuation and spelling. These results are used to measure children’s progress throughout their school life. A sample of pupils sit science tests every two years in order to give the government a picture of national performance. The results of these tests are reported back to both parents and pupils as scaled scores. Parents/ child’s are given their child’s scaled score and whether this matches up to the expected standard (100+) or a high score (110+) as well as the school’s and national averages. As well as SATs tests, teacher assessments will also take place in order to give a broader picture of children’s attainment. Just like in KS1, these tests reflect the content of the new curriculum.

This term I have been making a conscious choice to try and use summative data more to inform my own practises and assessment for learning. I have therefore started to collect data regarding children’s weekly spelling tests as well as logging who fails to to bring their homework in every week. This has proved useful as it allowed me to see any patterns that were a cause for concern. As a result I was able to highlight three students who were regularly scoring lower than expected. I was then able to have a word with these children and reiterate my expectations. The following week saw a definite increase in these children’s spelling results. Adding to this, by monitoring those who did not regularly hand in their homework allowed me to carry out interventions to ensure that this work was completed. I have since seen an improvement in their spelling homework and test results.

In order to consolidate their learning I gave my class a science test on their recent topic of forces. By marking these tests and collecting data I was able to see if there were any common misconceptions or holes in children’s learning. The majority of the class all came out with similar results which I found reassuring. Those that scored lower than the rest of the class were a mixture of SEN, EAL and LA pupils as well as those that did not finish the test. I found this really useful and so I am going to do a ‘cold’ test next term in order to assess children’s progress in the next science topic.

As I found collecting summative data useful for literacy, I intend to do the same for mathematics so that I can assess children’s understanding of the four number rules. From here I will be able to make an informed decision regarding the direction I take in maths next term.

Focused next steps to impact on your progress or the progress of the children in your care:

  • Have a concrete understanding of what working towards age related expectations, working at age related expectations and working at greater depth looks like across maths and literacy
  • Continue to use summative data to track and monitor children’s spellings in literacy and science
  • Assess children’s understanding of the four number rules to create summative data. This data will then be used to inform my next steps and lessons next term.