and what that means for the children in our school. Before we even think about assessment we need to be clear on what changes the new curriculum has brought to subjects that are traditionally assessed.
So, what are the changes to the curriculum? It would take far too long to cover the whole curriculum, particularly in any great depth. But the main changes to the key core subjects are highlighted below.
English -The new programme of study for English is knowledge-based; this means its focus is on knowing facts rather than developing skills and understanding.
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.
These are set out yearly across both key stages.
Mathematics -The main areas in the new programme of study for mathematics are called domains.
Most of the changes to the mathematics curriculum involve content being brought down to earlier years; meaning that year group expectations will be tougher to meet, Children may be experience maths in Year 2 that was previously taught in year 3 or 4.
A copy of the new National Curriculum is stored on this website.
The End of Curriculum Levels (apart from Year 2 and Year 6)
The Department for Education (DfE) has decided that the 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). Please note that this means that children in Year 2 and Year 6 during the academic year Sept 2014 to July 2015 will still be taught and assessed the levels/sublevels system of Assessment.
Therefore, school tracking systems and conversations with Parents will be still around levels and sublevels.
So why are levels disappearing?
The DfE want to avoid what has been termed ‘The level Race’ where children have moved through the old National Curriculum levels quickly to achieve higher attainment. The old National Curriculum was sub-divided into levels, but these were not linked to their national curriculum year group. For example, a child in Year 4 could be a Level 3 or even a level 5. Children were achieving Level 5 and 6 at the end of Key Stage 2, but the DfE thought that a significant number were able to achieve a Level 5 or
6 in a test—but were not secure at that level.
The feeling from the DfE was that the old national curriculum and the levels system failed to adequately ensure that children had a breadth and depth of knowledge at each national curriculum level. Under the old levels system children who were exceeding might have moved into the next level. The DfE now want children who are the highest achievers to add more depth and breadth to their knowledge, and to have more opportunities to develop their using and applying skills. They are calling this phase of learning Mastery and Depth. Only exceptional children will move into working towards the end of year expectations from the year above. Similarly, children who are unlikely to be emerging at the end of the
year may work towards the expectations from the year below.
Assessing Without Levels
The DfE announced last year that there would no longer be National Curriculum levels, and that schools would have to set up their own way of assessing pupils. The Leadership team at TSM worked during the Autumn term to research various different methods of assessment and we have now developed our own system for tracking progress and assessing progress and will trialling it over this next term so it is ready to be fully implemented from September.
So how will the process in school work?
Reading, Writing and Maths will be assessed by teacher judgement and evidence of learning that the children are showing in their books, through questioning and discussion and in summative tests. This is an ongoing process.
At the beginning of a new academic year, as children are being judged against the End of Year statements, they will be only be beginning to develop their knowledge . By using professional knowledge and judgement teachers will know what the children can already do and what they think the children can
achieve. At different stages across the school year, children will either be 'working towards the National expectation' for their year group, 'achieving the National expectation' or 'mastering' the national expectation.
The Government have said that at least 85% of children should be 'achieving that National Expectation' by the end of the academic year.
The other biggest change is that high achievers will work on the mastery element of the curriculum; once achieving the National Expectation for their year group. They will not move on to objectives from the year group above.
Talking to Parents about Attainment and Progress.
The biggest difference is how we will talk to you about how your child is progressing during the year. With the old National Curriculum levels, each year children were given a target for the end of the year, and during the year we would tell you what National Curriculum level your child was at. For Example: A child could finish Year 3 with a level 3a, and in Year 4 would have a target of a 4b for the end of the year.
At Parent’s Evenings throughout the year you may be told that they have moved to a 4c and then on to a 4b. We could use the levels system this way because there was no correlation between a level and a child’s year group, and this can be seen in the way that in a Year 6 class there could be a range of levels, from level 2 to a level 6.
However, the new National Curriculum sets out expectations for each year group and children will be assessed against those every year, so a child in Year 4 will always be judged against the expectations for the end of Year 4.
During the year, when we have conversations with you about your child’s progress we will show you the progress seen in your child's work, we will talk you through where the strengths and gaps are in your child’s learning and how this compares to the expectation for the year group your child is in. As the system becomes more embedded, your child will be able to talk about their learning from the check lists and learning ladders that will be used in the classroom.
Key Facts from the DFE