Understanding Primary Assessment – England
By Ruth Atkinson
The current state of play for primary testing
Back in September 2014, the Department for Education in England announced the removal of levels in primary assessment. The idea behind this was that it should provide teachers and schools with greater flexibility in the way they plan and assess their students. Without these levels, primary assessment in England became more challenging.
SATs, the attainment tests that a child will sit at the end of KS1 and KS2, are to evaluate a child’s educational progress and make comparisons between averages for their age. In recent years they have been met with controversy, especially around students’ stress levels. It has been discovered that pupils are struggling to cope with the stress of their primary testing, even more so after the development of more challenging exams in the Summer of 2016.
More recently to cause unrest in the field of primary assessmenthas been the piloting of the baseline assessments, which is a new form of primary testingin England that sees Reception children tested in communication skills, literacy, early maths and self-regulation.
It appears as though primary testingin England has become extremely metric and data-driven, but is this affecting the learning and teaching of school children? Primary assessmentdoesn’t need to be stressful, while what the government is demanding may be putting additional pressure on both teachers and students, there are systems in place that can help prepare students for primary testing, especially SATs.
Star Assessments are a powerful primary assessment tool that can measure and monitor progression, to specifically support pupil development and help them achieve their full potential.
Utilising the information provided by Star Assessments, Deputy Head Teacher of Battle & Langton CE Primary School, Gary Alexander explains how the system helped him to accurately predict the SAT results of his students, to indicate who was going to do well and who required extra assistance. Results to his findings can be discovered here.