Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, has announced a number of developments in primary assessment.
After being warned that an announcement about primary assessment was coming in the next few weeks, Justine Greening’s statement last week was not a surprise to many. Her statement spoke once more of teachers and children having “risen to the challenge” of the new curriculum whilst also placing caveats on the comparability of this year’s assessments with those of previous years.
Once again, it was stressed that no more than 6% of schools would fall below the floor standard this year. Specific guidance is to be issued regarding regulations around ‘coasting’ schools, with only a small minority to be given this category this year. Added to this, however, was the specific remark that no decisions on intervention (for schools either deemed ‘coasting’ or below the floor standard) would be made purely on the basis of this year’s data alone. Instead, as Greening put it, “Regional Schools Commissioners and local authorities will work together with the current leaders of the small minority of primary schools below the floor or coasting to help and support the schools to move forward in a positive direction.”
Within the wider statement, five main points are made clear:
- There will be no new additional tests or assessments introduced before the 2018-2019 academic year.
- New and improved moderation guidance will be issued, with mandatory training introduced for all local authority moderators.
- The KS1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test will remain optional for schools this academic year.
- There will be no statutory year seven re-sit tests for children who have not reached the national standard in year six. Instead, re-sit papers will be available for use if teachers wish and a targeted support package will be put in place to support children to catch up in their learning.
- A consultation on primary assessment and accountability will be launched in early 2017. This will include consultation on teacher assessments, baseline assessments and the EYFS profile.
- The EYFS profile will remain in place for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Although there are changes ahead, there is little for schools to do currently but wait. Schools will need to make a decision on whether or not to use both the KS1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test and the year seven re-sit tests. The updated moderation guidance is likely to be added to the STA’s online portal soon, which will have further implications for schools with regards to teacher assessment.
On Friday DfE published their assessment and reporting arrangements for 2017 for early years, key stage one and key stage two which will give more details and information.
The statement also promised the publication of the Rochford Review of the assessment of children working below the standard of national curriculum tests on Wednesday. The final report emphasised ten key recommendations, which are highlighted in our article summarising the report.
Primary assessment has gone through a myriad changes over the past few years. Let’s hope that, as Justine Greening said this week, these developments will bring a period of stability, so that we can “Set out a clear path to a settled system where our collective focus can be on achieving strong educational outcomes for all children.”