The new National Curriculum for England is now being taught in all maintained schools. As part of this Government reform, assessing the curriculum using levels has now been removed and schools are expected to assess without levels.
Assessment will look very different to how it has been for the last twenty years.
Curriculum changes: 3 core subjects
English: The new programme of study is knowledge based. There is an increased emphasis on the technical aspects of language. A specific content is provided for spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.
Maths: The main areas of the new programme of study are called domains. These are: number, measurement, geometry, statistics, ratio and proportion and algebra. The content for each year group is more challenging than previously expected.
Science: The National Curriculum for Science aims to develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding in the disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Scientific enquiry is explored in a range of ways where children are encouraged to ask and answer questions about the world around them. The programmes of study are set out year-by-year for Key Stages 1 and 2 to ensure all children receive full coverage of the curriculum.
Foundation subjects: Art, Religion, History, Geography, P.E., Technology, Computing, Music, foreign language (French for our school) in KS2 and R.E.
Evelyn CP School follows the National Curriculum with a creative approach as specified in our unique ARCS curriculum. This means we also teach P.S.H.C.E. (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship education), Global Education, Relax Kids and Entrepreneurial Skills.
Why do we assess?
Previously, all schools tracked the progress and attainment of each student using levels, starting at 1 and potentially ending (at primary school) at level 6.
Each level was divided into 3 sections; C,B & A – C being the lowest part of the level and A being the highest. 4B represented a child who in Y6 had reached the national average, and was ‘secondary ready’. Level 5 is higher than the national average and at Evelyn CP usually between 30% and 50% of the cohort achieve a Level 5 at the end of Y6 and more than 90% have achieved Level 4.
Why were levels removed?
To make a more fair and precise system of assessment. Levels have, in the past, distracted from ‘real feedback’. Levels could hide gaps that pupils had in their knowledge and understanding. This led to pupils being inaccurately assessed with misinterpretations and ‘lost learning’ travelling with them as they progressed through school.
The DFE wanted to remove ‘the level race’ where children moved through the levels quickly to achieve higher attainment. The old National Curriculum levels were not limited to their National Curriculum year groups. eg. a Y4 child could be Level 3, 4 or 5. Many believe there was no breadth or depth of knowledge at each curriculum level. A child could achieve a level but not be secure in it.
This has been to devise a new system which is totally personalised to each child, where knowledge and skills within each subject is assessed and therefore empowering pupils, teachers and parents.
We have researched different methods of assessing pupils.
Assessment continues to be at the heart of teaching and learning at Evelyn CP School.
Our philosophy is as follows:
Assessment is at the heart of effective practice. At Evelyn CP School, assessment is purposeful, honest and consistent. We believe it drives all children to success.
We have a unique curriculum called ARCS and our assessment system links closely to it and meets the needs of all our pupils. The information provided by our system will inform teaching and impact on the progress of pupils.
Types of Assessment used at Evelyn CP School
Diagnostic – the gathering of careful evaluation of details data using students’ knowledge and skills in a given area.
Observational – the process of observing and recording students’ knowledge and skills in a given area.
Formative – day to day strategies, eg. Individual Target Setting/ Progress meetings with children (twice a year for Years 1 – 5 and 3 times for Year 6 – 2 of which are also with parents).
Summative – Year group tests in October, February and May. National statutory tests. Parents evening every February to discuss progress with parents of all children from Nursery to Year 6.
Our system explained
Milestones to Mastery Ladders
We have split the end of year expectations for each year group into 3 categories as follows:
In the old system, children who were ‘exceeding’ might have moved to the next level. Now, they will add more depth and breadth to their knowledge and have more opportunities to do this through using and applying their skills. This phase of learning is called Deep Learning or MASTERY.
Only exceptional children will move in to working towards the end of year expectations for the year above. Similarly, children who are unlikely to be ‘emerging’ at the end of the year, may work towards expectations from the year below.
It is anticipated that the majority of children will reach the assessment point of:
A small number of children will ‘exceed’ and a very small number will be ‘emerging’ or at the previous year’s exceeding/expected/emerging.
Our journey continued
Our curriculum and assessment framework enables us to pinpoint aspects of the curriculum which are areas for development for some children as well as recognising exceptional performance.
We have implemented a new electronic tracking system which clearly shows how each pupil is performing against National Curriculum 2014. All teachers have this data to enable them to summarise and analyse attainment and progress of their pupils and their classes, and use the data to plan learning for every pupil, ensuring they meet or exceed expectations.
The Leadership Team analyse the data across the whole school to ensure pupils identified as vulnerable are making appropriate progress and all pupils are challenged.
Our aim is for each child to reach his/her full potential. We remember that a child’s potential is not fixed at any one time. High expectations are consistent throughout the school.
Achievements are celebrated across our complete broad and balanced curriculum and will include our unique Student Exit Profile which celebrates achievements of the social, emotional, spiritual, cultural and moral aspects of a child’s development.
Assessment is not meant to be used as a measure of your child’s ability at school but as a means to improve their ability to learn; their knowledge, their understanding and their skills.
Your child will then be given a forecast for the end of the year. During the year, when we have conversations with you about your child’s progress, you will be informed about whether your child is ‘on track’ to meet their end of year target. It may be they are above or below where they need to be, in which cast their end of year target may be adjusted. This feedback will be in the form of a ‘descriptive profile’ for your child.
At the heart of all effective practice is a child’s love and thirst for learning. This is enhanced by parental support so that the school and home work together to produce ‘deeper learning’ for all children.