New assessment criteria: What are the DfE’s expectations?

By Chris Jarosh

The removal of ‘levels’ from the curriculum should allow teachers greater flexibility in the way that they plan and assess pupils’ learning. The programmes of study within the new national curriculum set out expectations for the end of each key stage, and all maintained schools will be free to develop a curriculum relevant to their pupils that teaches this content.

Reporting progress

The curriculum must include an assessment system which enables schools to check what pupils have learned, whether they are on track to meet expectations at the end of the key stage and to report this information regularly to parents.

From 2015-16, the move will be from an absolute measure of progress to a relative measure. KS2 test outcomes will be reported as a scaled score, where the expected score is 100. Pupil progress will be determined in relation to the average progress made by pupils with the same baseline (i.e. the same KS1 average point score).

Average point scores

For example, if a pupil had an APS of 19 at KS1, the average scaled score in the KS2 tests will be calculated for all pupils with an APS of 19 to see whether the pupil in question achieved a higher or lower scaled score than that average.

New draft performance descriptors will be published in autumn 2014 which will inform statutory teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1 and 2 in summer 2016. Final versions will be published by September 2015.

Assessing for planning and teaching

Ofsted des not have any predetermined view as to what specific assessment system a school should use. Inspectors’ main interest will be whether the approach adopted by a school is effective. Assessments deemed effective will be those which directly inform planning and teaching in a meaningful way.

Ofsted will be looking to see that assessments provide accurate information showing the progress pupils are making. Whatever form the assessment takes, therefore, the information it gathers needs to be meaningful for teachers, pupils, parents and governors.

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