National changes in assessment and what this means at Raddlebarn

Government changes:

In September 2014, the Government made changes to the way that children in schools were to be assessed. This tied in with the New National Curriculum that started to be used by all schools at the same time. The aim of this guide is to give you some clear information about all the changes and what they mean for the children here at Raddlebarn Primary School.

The new National Curriculum clearly sets out expectations of children for the end of their National Curriculum year group, and your child will be assessed against those end of year expectations.

Teachers will no longer talk to you about ‘levels’.

The end of curriculum levels

The Department for Education (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. 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

We feel we have now got a system that reflects the needs of Raddlebarn but is also very similar in principle to systems adopted by a number of local schools.  This was to take the end of year expectations for each year group and to split this into 5 categories as follows:

  • Step 1 (Emerging)— Yet to be secure in the end of year expectations.
  • Step 2 (Emerging)—Secure in some of the end of year expectations.
  • Step 3 (Emerging)—Secure in most of the end of year expectations and is able to use and apply their knowledge and skills
  • Expected – met end of year expectations
  • Mastery– is beyond end of year expectation.

Assessing without levels at Raddlebarn School

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.

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 be assessed in the first instance against the expectations for the end of Year 4.

So how will the process in school work?

In each Autumn term, by October/November the teachers will have had an opportunity to assess how the children are working. At the start of each year group, every child will be assessed against the end of Year expectations. By using their professional knowledge and judgement teachers will know what the children can already do and what they think the children can achieve. They will then give a forecast as to where they think a child will be by the end of the Year.

During the year, when we have conversations with you about your child’s progress, you will be told whether your child is on track to meet their end of year target. It may well be that they are above or below where they need to be, in which case their end of year target may be adjusted.

We hope you find this guide useful to help you understand why & how assessment has changed.