Good Assessment Practice:
Following the introduction of the new National Curriculum, and the removal of the old system of levels to describe attainment and progress, we have introduced a new system of assessment. We hope that the information below will help you understand how your child’s attainment and progress will be assessed as we move forward without levels.
The attainment and progress of children in Y2 and Y6 was assessed against the old National Curriculum in 2014-15, using levels, but these year groups have now dispensed with levels too. They have come into line with the rest of KS1 and KS2, to be assessed against the new National Curriculum in all subjects.
After careful consideration and wide consultation, we have chosen to use the model of attainment steps found in the STAT Sheffield materials for all our KS1 and KS2 English and Maths assessment. This system has been developed over time, by a team of experts working in over 50 schools, and has been quality assured and endorsed by national bodies. Although it started in Sheffield, as a local solution, the model has spread widely across the country.
The STAT Sheffield attainment steps, as shown below, have replaced levels. Behind each step is a whole set of National Curriculum statements which must be achieved. Children move through the steps as they master more of the National Curriculum statements. They enter, develop and then become secure with the statements for each year group in turn. As there will be a wide range of ability within each year group, there may be some children working above and others below the expected level, but this model helps them all to make progress.
The structure of the scale should enable you, as parents and carers, to understand clearly how your child is doing in relation to the expected standards.
Teachers will use planning and assessment grids to record progress and indicate the next stages in a child’s learning. The child’s attainment step will be determined by the proportion of the appropriate curriculum they have mastered. All of the statements in the grids, which can be found on the STAT Sheffield website (www.statsheffield.org), are taken directly from the new National Curriculum. The grids also include some Key Performance Indicators which children must master before they can move on. These underlined statements prevent gaps in learning from developing.
The materials were designed as a planning and assessment tool, which would help teachers to use assessment information to support planning and improve pupils’ progress. We can use them throughout the year to identify pupils’ strengths and gaps in understanding, which helps us to plan learning which is pitched accurately to children’s appropriate next steps in learning. The materials also enable us to identify pupils who are falling behind in their learning or who need additional support to reach their full potential, including the most able.
Besides English and Maths, all of the other subjects are also assessed directly against the age-related expectations of the new National Curriculum. We assess, record and report attainment as Entering, Developing or Secure, relative to the milestones set for each age group in the National Curriculum. The tool we use to help us asses the other subjects has been developed by Chris Quigley and is entitled “Essentials”. Progress and attainment of children in the Foundation Stage continues to be assessed against the criteria in “Ages and Stages”.
We have introduced a computerised system for entering, tracking and monitoring assessment data, and we are confident that this will help us to ensure good progress for all our pupils.
We will hold a meeting for all parents early in this new academic year to explain the system further and answer any of your questions.