At Miriam Lord Primary School we view assessment as a very important tool for benchmarking the starting point of a child's education and to track progress and attainment. Until recently, children’s progress was assessed using national curriculum levels. The government has now removed ‘level descriptors’ from the National Curriculum and schools are expected to establish their own assessment systems to suit their children and parents.
To achieve we have devised a new system of assessment that does not use 'levels'. Teachers use our school system 'PAAM' (Pupil Attainment and Assessment Map) to carefully tracks objectives that pupils cover and to identify where any gaps in understanding may be. The system allows us to measure the depth of pupils' understanding and how they are able to transfer and apply the skills they have learned into new contexts. We fully understand that this system is sometimes not easy to understand as a parent so please don't hesitate to contact school if you would like more information. As always, we will provide an explanation of your child's progress throughout the year at our regular Parent Consultation Evenings.
The Department for Education felt levels were too vague and complicated for parents and not very good at helping them understand their child’s progress. Until September 2014, grades were used in school to grade pupils from ages five to 14. At the age of 11, when children left primary school, they were expected to have achieved at least a Level 4 in English, maths and science.
Miriam Lord have followed government guidelines and devised our own system to assess and measure pupils’ progress. These statements provide parents and teachers with information on how they achieve for their age. These include the following criteria:
From summer 2016, there will be more challenging SATs tests to reflect the new curriculum at the end of the Key Stages. Children will now receive a scaled score instead of a level. Their raw score – the actual number of marks they accrue – will be translated into a scaled score; this helps to allow for differences in the difficulty of the tests from year to year so that pupils' results can be compared accurately.
You will be told your child's raw score, scaled score and whether they have reached the national standard for that subject. The score that equates to the national standard has yet to be announced.
Children will also be matched against ‘performance descriptors’ (in other words what pupils are expected to know and be able to do at the time of testing) when being assessed by their teachers in non-SATs subjects at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2 to see if they’ve achieved the expected standard.
Alongside continuous teacher assessments, there will still be national assessments at regular intervals in English primary education:
Of course, there will still be children who will not meet the expected standard and they will continue to be teacher assessed using Small Steps (a way of measuring the progress of children who are working below the national curriculum levels). By assessing children more formally at Reception level, the government hopes the children requiring more teacher input will be identified earlier.
In the past, the brightest Year 6 children could be entered for advanced SATs papers called Level 6 papers for English and Maths. These tests will no longer be offered; instead, all children will take the same tests, but the papers will include a number of more difficult questions that are intended to stretch higher achieving children.