Government response to the Primary Assessment Consultation and the Rochford Review Consultation

On 14th September the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, announced the proposed changes to primary assessment following the consultation process which closed in June 2017.

The plans are for a primary assessment system which focuses on pupil progress, mastering literacy and numeracy, and scrapping unnecessary workload for teachers. The plans are designed to create a stable, long-term approach that ensures children are taught the essential knowledge and skills they need to succeed at secondary school and in later life.

The government confirmed that it will:

  • Improve the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile by exploring a reduction in the number of Early Learning Goals, making them clearer and aligning them more closely with teaching in key stage 1.

  • Retain the Emerging, Expected and Exceeding (EEE) categories but will review whether they should introduce an additional band within emerging.

  • Review the EYFS guidance and moderation process to reduce administration burdens

  • Improve school-level progress measures, and give schools credit for the education that they provide to their pupils in the reception year, year 1 and year 2, by introducing a statutory baseline assessment in reception from 2020.

  • Reduce workload and administration burdens on teachers by making end-of-key stage 1 assessments non-statutory in all-through primary schools from 2022/23 once the new reception baseline has become established, with national sampling to be introduced so that we can continue to monitor standards.

  • Continue to make the KS1 GPS test non-statutory and optional test materials will continue to be available.

  • Remove the statutory duty to report teacher assessment in reading and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards. The statutory duty to report teacher assessment using the pre-key stage standards for pupils working below the standard of the test will remain.

  • Aid children’s fluency in mathematics through the introduction of a multiplication tables check, from the summer of 2020, to be administered to pupils at the end of year 4.

  • Improve the way that writing is assessed, so that teachers have more scope to use their professional judgment when assessing pupil performance from 2017/18. The “pupil can” statements for writing have been reviewed and revised for KS1 and KS2. The pre-key stage standards for writing have also been revised to allow for a more flexible approach to writing assessment.

For full details of the feedback from the consultation and the government’s response can be found on the DfE website

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/644871/Primary_assessment_consultation_response.pdf

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) have published the Teacher assessment frameworks at the end of key stage 1 and end of key stage 2 for use in the 2017 to 2018 academic year.

 

English writing – Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

 

In 2017-18 there will be revised teacher assessment frameworks in English writing only, which include:

  • A more flexible approach – teachers can now use their discretion to ensure that, on occasion, a particular weakness does not prevent an accurate judgement of a pupil’s attainment overall being made. The overall standard of attainment, set by the ‘pupil can’ statements, remains the same. This is excellent news for some children with specific special educational needs.

  • Revised ‘pupil can’ statements – a greater emphasis on composition, while statements relating to the more ‘technical’ aspects of English writing (grammar, punctuation and spelling) are less prescriptive. All changes are in line with the attainment targets for the key stage 1 programme of study.

The Framework also includes the following:

Assessment of pupils with disabilities

All schools are required to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with disabilities. Disability is defined in the Equality Act 2010 as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. When teachers assess pupils against the ‘pupil can’ statements, they should base their judgements on what disabled pupils can do when reasonable adjustments are in place (for example, reducing anxiety by providing a quiet learning space, or allowing more time to process instructions).

 If a pupil has a disability that prevents them from demonstrating attainment in the way described in a ‘pupil can’ statement, their individual method of communication or learning is applicable (for example, using a visual phonics system for a pupil with a hearing impairment, or using a computer for a pupil with vision impairment because they cannot read back their handwriting). Teachers should ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to demonstrate attainment with reasonable adjustments in place, but the standards of the assessment should not be compromised and must be met in an equivalent way. Teachers should use their professional discretion in making such judgements for each pupil.

 If a pupil has a disability that physically prevents them from demonstrating a ‘pupil can’ statement altogether, even with reasonable adjustments in place, these statements can be excluded from the teacher assessment judgement (for example, for handwriting if the pupil is physically restricted when writing, or for phonics if a pupil is deaf and unable to make use of a visual phonics system). Teachers should use their professional discretion in making such judgements for each pupil, and be able to justify these during moderation.

For copies of the Key Stage 1 Framework for 2017 -18 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-assessment-frameworks-at-the-end-of-key-stage-1

For a copy of the Key Stage 2 Framework for 2017 -18

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-assessment-frameworks-at-the-end-of-key-stage-2

Government Response to Rochford Review Consultation

On 14th September the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, announced the proposed changes to the assessment of children working below national expected standard as recommended by the Rochford Review, following the consultation process which closed in June 2017.

P Scales

The government agreed with the Rochford Review that P scales are no longer fit for purpose as they are based on the old national curriculum and they do not support pupils to progress onto the new national curriculum.

In addition, they believed they replicated the old system of levels, which over time came to dominate teaching, and prioritised pace over consolidation.

On this basis they are accepting the Rochford Review recommendation to remove the statutory requirement for teachers to assess pupils using P scales.

The requirement to assess pupils engaged in subject-specific learning using P scales will be removed from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards.

Teachers should continue to assess these pupils using P scales in the 2017 to 2018 academic year, while the necessary changes to legislation are implemented.

Interim pre-key stage standards

In the case of pupils who are currently assessed using P scales and who are engaged in subject-specific learning, the government believe that the interim pre-key stage standards can provide this consistent approach and common language to measuring and describing attainment and progress.

They therefore accept the recommendation that the interim pre-key stage standards are made permanent and extended to cover all pupils engaged in subject-specific learning.

To give schools adequate time to prepare for these changes, this recommendation will take effect from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards. The interim pre-key stage standards will continue to be used in 2017-18 – some revisions have been made to the writing standards.

Pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning

The government agreed with the principle set out by the Rochford Review that statutory assessment of pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning should primarily focus on the areas of cognition and learning. This ensures that statutory assessment is as consistent as possible for all pupils, so that pupils are supported to progress onto subject-specific learning if and when they are ready

There were a number of individual respondents and representative organisations that expressed concerns about the introduction of a statutory requirement to assess pupils against the 7 areas of engagement, given that it was not originally designed as a statutory assessment tool, and it is relatively untested in its proposed form.

Concerns have also been raised by some respondents about whether the model assesses the appropriate aspects of cognition and learning.

The government want to ensure that all statutory assessment arrangements are robust, reliable and fair. They are committed to introducing a stable, sustainable assessment system, and believe it is important that there is complete confidence in any change that is introduced.

Therefore a pilot of the Rochford Review’s recommended approach to assessing pupils not engaged in subject specific learning will take place in the 2017 to 2018 academic year, before taking any final decisions on whether to implement this approach on a statutory basis.

This will mean that, if accepted following the pilot, changes would take effect from the 2019 to 2020 academic year onwards, following amendment to the relevant legislation.

In the meantime, schools should continue to assess pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning using the P scales.

Full details can be found on the DfE website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/644729/Rochford_consultation_response.pdf

Details of the revised pre-key stage standards can be found on the STA website:

Key Stage 1: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/interim-pre-key-stage-1-standards

Key Stage 2: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/645026/2017_to_2018_interim_pre-key_stage_2_standards_PDFA.pdf