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'Assessment Without Levels' at Jesse Gray

From September 2015 the  way in which the  new National Curriculum is assessed, will be  changed.

The system of national curriculum levels and sub levels which has existed for much of the  past  two decades will be no longer be used; and  an entirely new vocabulary and system to explain, express and measure your child’s progress and attainment will be in place.

On Tuesday 1st December we held two Assessment Briefings. From this we have developed the following list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any other queries please just ask and we will add them on to our list. Additionally, support materials can be found at the bottom of the page, along with the powerpoint used during the session. We hope that this is useful for you in understanding the future of assessment here at Jesse Gray.

FAQs - Assessment Without Levels (In no particular order)

Is the assessment the same for younger children (e.g. a child born in August and September will be studying in the same class) but with an age difference of one year? Will they have the same expectations? What extra efforts are put forward for these children at school?

 

Research says….

A large amount of literature shows consistent evidence that “summer-born” (May-September) children in England perform significantly worse than other children in tests at every age. For example, at age seven, August-born pupils are 26 percentage points less likely to reach the expected level than identical September-born pupils. The gaps falls to 6.4 percentage points in achieving five or more GCSEs or equivalents at grades A*-C. However, Crawford et al (2013) also find little evidence that detrimental effects (on likelihood of being in employment, on earnings, and on measures of wellbeing) persist in adulthood.

 

Potential drivers of poorer performance by summerborn children

• Age at test – summer-born children are the youngest and least mature when tested.

• Length of schooling – when admissions systems have different entry points during the year, younger children who start later can receive less schooling than their peers.

• Age on starting school – younger children may be less able to cope with a ‘formal’ curriculum.

• Relative age – younger children may feel inadequate compared to older, more mature classmates

However, here at Jesse Gray, our outcomes from last years National Standardised Tests (KS1 SATs) show that our summer born children actually outperformed those born in the Autumn Term. This demonstrates that children here at Jesse Gray achieve well regardless of their birth date. We ensure that all children are taught with thoroughness to ensure that they all maximise their potential.

If we are moving to end of year assessments, can we start talking about year groups rather than FS2 and KS1/KS2 which is hugely confusing to most parents?

The government organise the National Curriculum into Stages. These comprise FS2 (Reception), KS1 (Year 1 and Year 2), KS2 (Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6). The DfE will continue to use this terminology in reference to National Standardised Tests (SATs) so we will continue to use them too. I hope the explanation above helps to clarify any misunderstandings. Classes, Teachers and Year groups are organised into these headings on the Jesse Gray website also.

 

If you are ‘working towards’ expected levels does this mean that down the line, if they carry on the same, they are likely to fail GCSE?

The levels given at the end of Key Stage 2 can be used to forecast GSSE results if children make expected progress in every year from year 6 to year 11. However, within any year ‘better than expected progress’ could be made therefore narrowing this gap. Through the use of quality first teaching, pre-teaching and impact teaching models we hope to narrow these gaps so the vast majority of children achieve the ‘expected level’ at Jesse Gray.

 

With Year 2 tests – do the children have to be able to read the questions themselves (and answer them) or will the questions be read out to them?

Previously, the Year 2 teachers have been allowed to read the maths questions in SATs tests. They are not allowed to read the questions in the reading paper. These details have not been released for the 2016 tests yet but we expect the rules to be similar. Teachers will be able to read the questions for the maths and grammar paper but not the reading. We will update you further when we have more details ourselves.

 

Can parents have visibility of what the actual standards are so we could support at home?

Standards were sent out to parents at the beginning of the year but are also attached at the bottom of this FAQ for your to download.

 

If you have a child who is not meeting expectation at the end of the year, what happens to them the year after? Do they continue developing their understanding of the previous year’s subjects, or do they automatically move on to being assessed against the new levels?

Quality First Teaching, Impact teaching and pre-teaching, along with clear differentiation, are methods used within school to ensure that children achieve the end of year expectations. For those not achieving, special provision and a tailored curriculum will be developed to meet their needs and to help these children narrow their learning gaps.

 

If there is little indication of progress in the first 2/3 of the year, how are potential issues identified and picked up and addressed?

Teachers keep detailed notes and records on individual children’s progress. During our termly ‘Progress Review’ meetings that each teacher has with a member of the leadership group, every child’s progress is discussed, assessed and action plans put in place to ensure continued progress is made. Securing any of the end of year expectation may take time, however, progress towards these will be evident and clear throughout the whole year.

 

How are you going to measure and inform parents about the progress in the deeper understanding bracket?

Progress for all groups of children will be reported to parents during parents evening and within the end of year report. Targets and next steps will be given out regularly to children and parents.

 

Will the results of SATs be shared with parents?

SATs results will, as always, be reported to parents in July. Where possible, these will accompany the end of year report.

 

You said Standards were slipping, who was the compared to? Is that Europe?

The main aim of the New National Curriculum is to raise standards, particularly as the UK is slipping down international student assessment league tables. Inspired by what is taught in the world’s most successful school systems, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Finland, as well as in the best UK schools, it’s designed to produce productive, creative and well educated students. 

 

Will spelling tests (homework) that my child receives every week relate to the KS2 SATs ’20 spelling’ questions?

Big Spelling was chosen as a spelling scheme for Jesse Gray, partly because the scheme relates well to the KS2 spelling test. The spellings children learn cover a wide range of word groups – including spelling rules (and allied exception words), adding suffixes and prefixes, homophones and frequently misspelled words. These are the same categories of words that appear in the KS2 spelling test.

Big Spelling is a scheme that develops individual children’s needs at their own ability level. These lists may not exactly match to the child’s year groups outcomes. However, within classes, children are taught specific strategies assessed at the end of their year group so both need and outcome are addressed throughout the Jesse Gray spelling curriculum.

 

Is there an ‘official’ list of end of year 2 spellings that we can access?

There is no definitive list for any year group however there is guidance relating to specific spelling strategies required for most year groups. This has been compiled by the DfE and can be found at the bottom of this page.

 

How are children who easily exceed the end of years expectations assessed and stretched to achieve their potential?

In the new National Curriculum, it is expected that children (in general) are all taught the same objectives across the year. Within a single lesson block, all children will be learning the same objective (except the least able who will be working on more appropriate nextstep content). The most able children, who most often learn more quickly, cannot be stretched by teaching them the objectives from the next year group; instead, they have to be stretched by having to apply and link their learning in deeper ways  they are stretched by exploring their application of learning. We call this Depth of Learning by differentiation, where more able children are stretched by differentiating lessons and blocks of lessons with content that makes more able pupils learn and use their application skills more deeply. Integrated Depth of Learning / Depth of Learning by differentiation

  • Depth of Learning is a differentiated focus and supported outcome of ongoing lessons and planning.
  • Teachers differentiate their lessons to stretch more able children to apply and link their learning.
  • Teachers maintain and improve pupil Depth of Learning through opportunity to explore, link and apply learning.
  • Integrated Depth of Learning is not an add on at the end of the year  it is an integrated, ongoing approach to differentiation.

 

How as a parent can you gear yourself back up to the English requirements to support your child?

We assume that this question is primarily about the grammar requirements in the new curriculum. Please remember that the grammar aspects are primarily about knowledge – your child already uses English grammar correctly. The first useful document is a grammar glossary from the DfE – this clarifies the terms that will be used. For example, the term article is no longer used; articles are now referred to as determiners. This publication can be found at the bottom of the page. The JG framework for grammar teaching is also available to download at the bottom of the page. The other piece of advice is to talk about grammar with your children, especially about word classes (nouns, adjectives etc.) as a secure knowledge of these terms will help your child to make good progress in grammar. There is also link to a KS1 & 2 grammar framework at the bottom of the page. Southam Primary School’s website also has grammar guides – click here – that may be of help.

There is already information about reading, writing and spelling on the school website http://www.jessegray.notts.sch.uk/page/?title=English&pid=43 .

 

It would be really useful to get regular updates on our child’s progress so we can best support them at home. If they are not at ‘expected level’ we need to know early on to help them.

Previously we have provided parents with termly targets (September, January, April) along with two parents evenings (October and March) and an end of year report (July). As the curriculum has changed, the structure of our targets will change for January but the other contact/updates will continue. Parents of children whose progress is of particular concern to teachers will obviously be contacted on a more regular basis to ensure that progress is made, this will remain a constant at Jesse Gray

 

What if a child is significantly below the expected standard at the end of the year?

Children who are expected to be significantly below the expected standard will have had regular contact with their class teacher throughout the year and will have their progress closely monitored to identify fine levels of progress. These children will have an individually tailored curriculum designed by their class teacher and school SENcO

 

Will we receive JG end of year reports A, B, C, 1, 2, 3. This was really helpful and more objective scores rather than working towards/ working at the expected level/ working in greater depth which appears very woolly and too board a category.

Here at Jesse Gray we are currently reviewing and restructuring our End of Year Reports. When decisions have been made about this we will let you know.

 

Is the Year 1 phonics exam teacher assessed? How can we prepare the children for this?

The check will take place in June when your child will read 40 words out loud to a teacher. You’ll find out how your child performed, and their teacher will assess whether he or she needs extra help with reading. If your child doesn’t meet the expected Standard in the check they’ll have to do it again in Year 2 and will receive additional phonic sessions to accelerate their understanding. You can support your child by regularly practising the phonic sounds that they are taught in school. A list of these is provided at the bottom of this page.