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 now used by all schools. 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 Barming Primary School.
The End of Curriculum Levels
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.
Emerging, Expected and Exceeding
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. After investigating many different Assessment & Tracking systems, we have decided to use SIMs, which is very good and used by lots all primary schools in Kent. Children will now be judged against end of year statements for their year group. The statements fall into 3 categories:
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. Only exceptional children will move onto expectations for 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.
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
Lots of you may have heard of the expression ‘Secondary Ready’ as the standard children must achieve by the end of Year 6. The DfE have slightly distanced themselves from this phrase and are talking about children reaching the assessment point of Year 6 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.
Parents' Consultation and Progress
The biggest difference is how we will talk to you about how your child is progressing during the year. With the old National Curriculum levels, each year children were given a target for the end of the year, and during the year we would tell you what National Curriculum level your child was at. 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 (for example) 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? 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 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. The Government's aim and our schools aim is that every child is expected for their year group by the end of the year.
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 be expected by the end of the academic year for their year group. It may well be that they are below where they need to be, in which case the school will put extra provision in place to ensure progress. A small number of children will be above 'exceeding' and the school will support these children to ensure they are challenged.