Assessment – Frequently Asked Questions
We have responded to a range of questions we anticipate you might want to ask now we’ve sent home the first round of Achievement Ladders:
What has happened to levels?
In September 2014, the Government introduced a new, national curriculum. The previous curriculum, introduced in 2000, utilised the national framework of Levels to measure attainment and progress. As Levels were a measure of the previous curriculum, they are now redundant. With the new curriculum, the Government will only provide schools with a measure of attainment at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2. They leave it to schools to develop their own systems of in-house assessment to best support children, teachers and parents through the whole school. Eliot Bank have worked closely with their Federation partner, Gordonbrock, and the Oakbridge Federation, to develop a Standards approach.
Can you explain the new, school standards system?
For each year group, the new curriculum stipulates objectives to teach to children at each stage of their primary schooling. The Standards set out assessment criteria which correlate directly with these curriculum statements. We hope the numbering of Standards is clearer than that of Levels:
Standard Relates to:
E - Early Years (Reception) outcomes
1 - Year 1 outcomes
2 - Year 2 outcomes
3 - Year 3 outcomes
4 - Year 4 outcomes
5 - Year 5 outcomes
6 - Year 6 outcomes
Within each Standard, there are four stages: Beginning, Developing, Secure, and Secure with greater depth. We would expect most children to achieve Secure in their year group-related Standard by the end of each academic year. Most children will be Beginning within their Standard by the end of the Autumn Term, and Developing by the end of the Spring Term.
On my Year 4 child’s Achievement Ladder, they are ‘Working within Standard 3’. What does this mean?
In Year 4, a child who is ‘Working within Standard 3’, is still working at the previous year’s Standard. They have not yet grasped enough of their year group-related curriculum expectations to be Beginning in Standard 4, although they are not too far away. See Q5 below for more information.
For one of the subjects, my child, in Year 5, is working ‘Below Standard 4’. What does this mean?
This rung on the ladder indicates your child is working more than a year behind that which is expected of children of the same school year. For example, a child working at Standard 1, 2 or 3 in Year 5 would be ‘Below Standard 4’ on the Year 5 Achievement Ladder. See Q5 below for more information.
My child is not working at the expected Standard. What is the school doing to help them catch up?
Beyond Quality First Teaching, your child will be receiving appropriate support to enable them to close the gap with their peers. This may be in-class intervention, as directed by the class teacher, or SEN support.
How can I support my child to achieve ‘Secure’ in the expected Standard by the end of the year?
At the start of the year, we sent home paper copies of your child’s year group-appropriate Standard for reading, writing and Maths. The Assessment section on our school website has downloadable versions of these documents, for your reference. To be ‘Secure’, your child needs to demonstrate that they have met most of the assessment criteria stipulated on this Standard. This will be measured through on-going teacher assessment and end-of-term tests.
How can I support my child to achieve ‘Secure with greater depth’ in the expected Standard?
For a child to achieve ‘Secure with greater depth’, they must master all the criteria outlined in the year group-appropriate Standard, and then develop their abilities to apply this content in a wide range of contexts. To best support your child at home, talk to them about their day-to-day learning, work alongside them on their home learning tasks, refer to the school’s calculation policy, and make use of the target activities outlined on their ladder.
My child was working above the national expectations on the old Levels system. Now, they’re only on track. Have they gone backwards?
No child goes ‘backwards’ in their learning (unless, of course, they have a significant absence). It is important to recognise that the demands of the new curriculum are higher, so it is very possible that a child who was above-average on the previous curriculum, is now on track. If your child is on track against the new curriculum, they are achieving well.
Can my very-able child move onto the next year’s standard?
The revised national curriculum is demanding - particularly, when the children move through Key Stage 2. To be on track at this early stage of implementation is quite an achievement. It is highly unlikely that a child would need challenge beyond that of ‘greater depth’. However, if a child does excel beyond this stage of learning, and needs extension through content from the next Standard, the school would put strategies in place to support your child, which might include moving onto the next Standard. No child would be allowed to ‘coast’.
What does ‘Secure with greater depth’ look like? I’m concerned my child won’t be challenged.
If your child achieves ‘Secure with greater depth’, he/she has securely grasped all of their year group-related curriculum content, and – importantly – is able to apply this knowledge across a wide range of contexts. Very few children will achieve ‘Secure with greater depth’ because the new standards are so high.