Assessment Without Levels
Changes to Curriculum Levels
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).
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.
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. We have spent a long time researching various different methods of assessing and tracking pupils and almost all of the systems used the same format, which was similar to the system used in the Early Years and Foundation Stage. This was to take the end of year expectations for each year group and to split this into 3 categories as follows:
- Emerging— Yet to be secure in the end of year expectations.
- Expected—Secure in the majority of the end of year expectations.
- Exceeding—Secure in almost all or all the end of year expectations and is able to use and apply their knowledge and skills confidently.
Under the old levels system children who were exceeding might have moved into the next level. The DfE now want children who are in the exceeding bracket 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.
So how will this look at the end of Year 2?
It is anticipated that the majority of children will reach the assessment point of Year 2 expected, a smaller number of children will reach Year 2 exceeding, and a small number will be Year 2 emerging, or possibly Year 1 exceeding/expected/emerging. We are using Focus Education as a base to our curriculum and this feeds nicely into our new tracking system. Here we continue to track your child's progress and attainment, this will be reported to you through parent consultations and the end of year report.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Children in the EYFS will continue to be assessed against the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP for short). This consists of Ages and Stages criteria for nursery learners moving into Early Learning Goals for Reception aged learners. At the end of Reception these are reported as Emerging, Expected or Exceeding the Early Learning Goals in each area. We collate evidence across the year to create ‘Learning Journeys’ for all children in EYFS and we value all contributions from parents and carers to these documents. We use observations, samples of learning, conversations and photographs of your child to evidence their understanding of key concepts and their characteristics of learning.