From September 2014, the Government has made a huge change in the way that children in schools are to be assessed.
This means that the way we report your child’s progress and attainment has changed.
Removal of Levels
In the previous national curriculum, what children were expected to learn during their time in primary school was divided up into objectives.
These objectives got progressively more difficult as the children moved through the curriculum. To mark the change in difficulty the objectives were banded into levels, moving from Level 1 through to Level 6.
Levels were used to mark the progress of children as they moved from year to year. At the end of KS1 the ‘average’ child would be at Level 2. By the end of KS2, the same child would be expected to progress to Level 4.
Levels were helpful as they gave teachers a good understanding of what a child had previously learned and what they needed to learn next. However, the Department for Education (DfE) wants to ensure that all children gain a breadth and depth of knowledge appropriate to their age, and they felt that this was not happening under the old system.
How has the curriculum changed?
The new 2014 National Curriculum comes from a different educational philosophy.
It is a mastery curriculum, which means that there is greater emphasis on meeting each concept in a variety of ways.
The expectation of the new curriculum is that every child will be working within the objectives for their year group with the aim that they will all have a secure (or ‘expected’) understanding by the end of the year. Those children who attain the objectives more quickly, will not move on to objectives from a higher year group, as they did under levelled objectives, but they will study these objectives in more depth, using their skills in a broader range of ways in order to develop mastery understanding.
The video below, produced by the DfE, explains the mastery curriculum in more detail.
The new curriculum also expects much more of children than the previous curriculum. In every year the expectations have been raised, the curriculum has become more challenging, and children are expected to learn more, and in greater depth.
New terms to get used to
We have changed how we describe children’s progress, using the following terms when making judgements about how our pupils are getting on in Reading, Writing and Mathematics:
- Emerging – The child is able to access the curriculum for their year group and shows a developing understanding, but may need support.
- Expected – The child is accessing all aspects of the curriculum with confidence, and at an age-appropriate level, being able to work independently.
- Exceeding – The child shows an incredibly secure understanding of all aspects of the curriculum, being able to see connections between different topics. They are able to apply their knowledge and skills in a broad range of ways.
It is important to note that, due to the changes the new curriculum brings, children around the country who were working at the expected level for their age group may now have some gaps in what is expected of their understanding. Over the course of the 2014-15 academic year, your child’s teacher worked hard to fill in these ‘new’ gaps, teaching objectives from lower year groups that had not previously been a part of the curriculum. This has meant that across the country, children have been playing ‘catch-up’.
Our youngest children will of course be used to the new curriculum from the very start of their school career, and will not ‘notice’ the changes so much as some of our oldest pupils.
How will reporting look different at Cockington?
Throughout the year, your child’s class teacher will make on-going assessments about your child’s understanding of key ‘milestones’ in their year group. E.g. if your child has recently completed a topic on multiplication, the class teacher will record (using our school tracking system) whether your child demonstrated an ‘Emerging, Expected or Exceeding’ understanding of this. During the year, class teachers will be able to use these assessments to communicate whether your child is ‘on track’ to achieve an overall end of year judgement of ‘Emerging, Expected or Exceeding’. In due course, you will have access to this assessment data through a secure, online log-in.
My child was always a high attainer. Is this going to change?
This hasn’t changed. Your child is still being challenged at school. However, rather than moving to concepts taught in later year groups, they are broadening their understanding of each concept, learning in much greater depth than in previous years.
As a school, we remain passionate about challenging pupils of all abilities, including those who attain highly.
My child’s attainment appears to be lower than it was before. Why is that?
Many of the objectives expected in each year group are now much more challenging, so particularly our KS2 children are having to learn objectives from lower years, as well as their own year group’s objectives. For children to catch up to their own year group may take time. This is the case in all primary schools.
As always your child’s teacher will have the highest expectations of your child; they will provide a rich and stimulating curriculum; they will challenge and stretch, as well as support and structure the curriculum for your child.
What about SATs in years 2 and 6?
SATs testing still remains for the end of KS1 (Year 2) and end of KS2 (Year 6). At both KS1 and KS2, the tests will cover:
- English reading
- English grammar, punctuation and spelling
Rather than a level being reported, ‘scaled scores’ will be used. The government is yet to give full details on this, but on this scale ‘100’ will represent the national standard.
For further information or to make an appointment to speak to your child’s teacher about assessment, please contact the school on 01803 214100