From September 2014, the system for assessing the attainment and progress of children in KS1 and KS2 changed. Although children who are currently in Year 2 and Year 6 will continue with the previous Maths and English curriculum and its end of year assessment procedures, children in Year 1, 3, 4 and 5 will no longer be assessed using ‘Levels’.
In school we have traditionally reported to you your child’s attainment in Maths and English as being low, secure or high within a certain Level and we have done that at the end of each term. We have also discussed their rate of progress in relation to the number of sub-levels they have moved. Nationally this has now changed as the government felt that schools should have greater autonomy in deciding how they assess pupil achievement, and that the Levels system had become outdated and was no longer fit for purpose. It was also felt that parents did not feel that Levels were clear enough in explaining their child’s attainment and progress.
This is certainly a challenge but as a school we will be using our Learning Ladders system for the purposes of target setting, reporting, assessing and recording. This approach was recognised by the Department for Education earlier this year and is being adopted by schools nationally. While we will hold meetings each year to explain this approach to parents, we will give an overview here of what this approach looks like. We have also provided links to key documents. Please do come in and see us if you have specific questions that we can help you with. Our aim is to produce a FAQ link by the end of this term which should help.
Each pupil has a Learning Ladder booklet for Reading, Writing and Maths. Each booklet is divided into different ladders that represent key skills. The ladder then has rungs which show the key objectives, taken from the new National Curriculum, that the children need to work through. Although the path of learning is never linear, the rungs set out a typical journey of learning. Teachers will sign off the rungs as children achieve them. Rungs will be signed off weekly, often ‘live’ with the children, as well as periodically by the teacher as part of their summative assessment.
Over time, teachers will be able to see which rungs a child has achieved in relation to the end of year expectations. We can then report to parents, at the end of the year, if their child is Working Towards, Working Within, Achieving or Exceeding end of year expectations. Throughout the year, parents will have access to their child’s Learning Ladder booklets so they can clearly see which rungs they have achieved and what their next steps are. This information will be available on line as well.
Children will be making expected progress if they move from Working Within to Working Within each year, or Achieving to Achieving. Where a child is Working Towards or Exceeding end of year expectations, teachers will explain to parents if the progress that is being made is that which is expected, or if it has stalled of declined.
There is much work to be done. While as a school the Department for Education will provide us with more specific information as to what the end of Year 6 expectations will be, it is up to us to use the National Curriculum document to decide what end of year expectations for Years 3 to 5 look like across all the subjects so that we can report confidently to parents.