From 2016, primary schools in England are being asked to change how they measure pupil progress. A new method called the reception baseline assessment is being introduced to measure children’s progress from when they first start primary school in reception, until the age of 11. At Radley we are piloting this baseline assessment from September 2015. We are continuing to make assessment observations using the Early Years Foundation Stage profile to measure your child’s progress during their Reception year, but are also using the new baseline assessment. All assessments are made through a series of observations of your child, and do not take the form of formal testing.
A New Primary Curriculum
The New Primary Curriculum has been operational since September 2014, for children in Years 1, 3, 4 and 5, and September 2015 for children in Years 2 and 6.
What are the changes to the curriculum? The New Primary Curriculum is a more challenging curriculum. The main changes to the key core subjects are:
The new programme of study for English is knowledge-based; it is also characterised by an increased emphasis on the technical aspects of language and less emphasis on the creative aspects. English is set out year by year in Key Stage 1 and two-yearly in Key Stage 2. Appendices give specific content to be covered in the areas of spelling and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. Most of the changes to the Mathematics curriculum involve content being brought down to earlier years.
Levels are a way of measuring children’s progress. During their primary career children have moved through the ‘levels’ beginning at 1c and hopefully reaching a level 4b or above in each of reading, writing and maths by the end of Year 6.
The Department for Education (DfE) has decided that children who are currently in Years 2 and 6 will be the last pupils to be awarded a level in their end of Key Stage tests (Summer 2015).
Why are levels disappearing? The DfE want to avoid what has been termed ‘The Levels Race’ where children have moved through the old national curriculum levels quickly to achieve higher attainment. Children were achieving Level 5 and 6 at the end of Key Stage 2, but it was felt that some children achieving a Level 5 or 6 did not have sufficient breadth and depth in the relevant area.
How does this affect the assessment my child’s progress? The New Primary Curriculum sets out expectations for each year group and children will be assessed against those every year instead of being given a level. So, for example, with the New Curriculum, a child in Year 4 will always be judged in the first instance against the expectations for the end of Year 4. To tie in with the New Primary Curriculum, the government has changed the way children are to be assessed and their progress measured Schools have been invited to devise their own measurements of assessment, although there will still be national testing at the end of Years 2 and Year 6.
What are we doing at Radley?
We will be taking the new end of year expectations for a year group and assess how children have progressed towards them. Assessment of progress will be split into the categories: Emerging — Yet to be secure in end of year expectations. Expected — Secure in the majority of end of year expectations. Exceeding — Secure in all the end of year expectations and able to use and apply their knowledge and skills confidently. A few children will be assessed as being beyond ‘exceeding’, and will be given the opportunity to add more depth and breadth to their knowledge and have more opportunities to develop their using and applying skills. This will be termed as ‘Mastery’.