Testing times

Tuesday 15 May 2012

At the end of every term, teachers make an assessment in Reading, Writing and Maths so that we can make sure all our children are making good progress.  Teachers do this through continual assessment: they observe who’s able to do things in whole-class teaching, in groups, when marking etc.

The end-of-year teacher assessments are even more important – we analyse the data in even greater detail.  To help get an accurate picture, teachers in Year 2 to Year 5 use some tests.  The tests don’t replace the teachers’ assessment; they inform it. Teachers are aware that a test represents just a snapshot, whilst their continual assessment shows what a child can really attain.

The teacher assessments at the end of each Key Stage are most important – they represent where a child has reached before moving into the next Key Stage.  Year 6 children are coming to the end of Key Stage 2.  As they are about to move to secondary school – an important transition point – the children will be given levels derived from both a teacher assessment and a test (the SATs).  The SATs are happening this week for the Year 6 pupils. Some children will be invited to have a go at Level 6 tests in Reading and Maths – these happen next week. Level 6 represents a level three or four years ahead of national expectations.

In Key Stage One, Year 2 teachers must submit assessments to the local authority and the Department for Education.  (Ofsted use these assessments to measure how well a school is doing based on Year 2 to Year 6 progress, for example.) Miss Hewson makes the assessment based partly on some tests, partly on continual assessment (just like in Year 3 – 5).  Last week, we had a visitor from Leeds Children’s Services.  He came to evaluate whether our end of Key Stage One teacher assessments are accurate and fair.  The meeting was a challenging three hours in length – the local authority assessor was very knowledgeable, very thorough, very rigorous but also very fair.  I’m delighted to report that this moderation process went extremely well.  Here’s an extract from the report:

[Miss Hewson] is confident in applying accurate and consistent judgements and did not overly rely on test results. The specific writing pieces seen were in line with national standards and correctly levelled. She talks about the children with good knowledge of their learning and an appreciation of their prior learning and circumstances. Her preparation was thorough and thoughtful, with a balanced range of evidence prepared diligently. The iPad evidence for reading was a great resource. It was a pleasure to work with you.

Well done, Miss Hewson, and well done to all our pupils trying their best in their tests just now.