An Introduction to the New Assessment Procedures
In September 2015, the Government made significant changes to the way that children in schools were to be assessed. This is to tie in with the New National Curriculum that schools implemented last academic year in Years 1, 3, 4 and 5 and this year in Years 2 and 6.
Over recent years, you will have become familiar with learning about your child’s attainment and progress through teachers sharing your child’s academic levels e.g. 2b or 4c. Schools are no longer allowed to use this assessment system and all schools now have to set up their own way of assessing pupil attainment.
Why have levels gone?
The Government rationale behind the removal of levels was that too often levels became viewed as thresholds and teaching became focused on getting pupils to the next level instead of ensuring that children were exposed to a breadth and depth of knowledge at each National Curriculum level. Rather than replace the current levelling structure, they put the onus on schools to set up their own assessment systems.
The New Curriculum
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. Detailed breakdowns of expectations for each year group in Reading, Writing and Maths can be found on our website but the main changes involve:
- Year group curriculum – this is specific to the year group and children are to be challenged within this set of objectives rather than moving into the objectives from the year above.
- The expectations in the new National Curriculum are higher in each year group than before. In most year groups, the expected standard is one to two years above what it was previously.
- Spelling, handwriting, punctuation and grammar have been given a greater weighting when assessing writing. In Maths, the children are expected to deal with bigger numbers from an earlier age (for example, numbers to 100 in Year 1 as opposed to numbers to 20 previously) and some concepts are now being taught in earlier year groups than was previously the case.
The New Assessment System
At Sevenoaks Primary, we have been working closely with other local schools to produce an assessment system which aligns with the expected standards for each year group and which allows us to moderate across schools in the local area. We have decided to adopt a system suggested by the advisors at Kent LEA where children would be assessed according to the following descriptors in Reading, Writing and Maths:
- Emerging - Yet to be secure in the end of year expectations.
- Expected - Secure in the end of year expectations.
- Exceeding - Exceptional attainment well above the new expected standards for the year group.
It is important to know that “Exceeding” is not the same as above average as the children will need to be secure in a set number of very challenging objectives in order to be deemed “Exceeding”.
At the start of each academic year, pupils will be assessed against the requirements for the year group that they have joined. This means that at the start of each year, every child will be in the ‘Emerging’ category as they are being judged against the End of Year statements. However, teachers will be able to speak with you regarding where we would expect your child to be at the end of the year. During consultation meetings, teachers will be able to discuss the progress your child has made and what they need to do in order to achieve their end of year target.
Family Learning Sessions
It is important that parents and carers understand the new procedures for assessment and also the new expectations for what “Expected” will look like at the end of each year group. The new expectations for each year group are well above what they were previously. In order to share this information with you, we will be running a family learning session in term 3. We hope that as many of you as possible will be able to attend. We aim to go through the changes to the new curriculum, give you an understanding of expected outcomes in each year group and inform you about how we will be reporting progress throughout the year. You will find outlines of the programmes of study for each year group on the school website but we go into more detail during this Family Learning session and show you examples of what the new expectation for each year group looks like.
We will repeat the presentation at two times during the day so that parents can chose to come to the sessions that fits their schedule best (NB do not come to both as the second session will be a repeat of the first!)
For your information this is the presentation shown in the main hall at the start of those family learning sessions which took place on 19th January.