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Assessments without Levels (September 2015)

Dear Parents and Carers,

Thank you for such a good start to the term. We have got off to a really organised start with the children knowing the schools’ expectations and rising to the challenge of some hard work. In this letter I hope to explain to you the new process of assessment.

From this September the Government has changed the way children’s learning in reading, writing and maths in Key stages 1 & 2 is assessed. This ties in with the changes to the National Curriculum (2014) which is now used by all maintained schools. This is a new way of thinking for schools and assessment will look very different to how it has done for many years. Levels are no longer used

Why have levels gone?
The Department for Education felt that ‘levels’ were viewed as ‘thresholds to cross’ or ‘best fit’ rather than ensuring children fully understood their learning without gaps in their knowledge. They want schools, parents and children to move away from the idea that it is the race towards the highest level and make sure that children are secure in the breadth and depth of subject knowledge.

Schools have spent the last year in deciding how they are going to assess without levels. St Joseph’s, like many other local schools, has decided to go with the Southwark assessment system. This system takes the end of year curriculum expectations and divides the content of these over the academic year. The children work towards the end of year expectations. Teachers will use a broad range of evidence to assess your child’s learning and when you speak to them you will begin to hear a different language to what you are used to.

A guide to the progress ‘steps’ over the academic year for Years 1 - 6

  • Autumn Term (Step 1) Emerging: yet to be developing or secure in the end of year expectations
  • Spring Term (Step 2) Developing: working towards the end of year expectations
  • Summer Term (Step 3) Secure: secure in the end of year expectations and are able to use and apply knowledge and skills confidently
  • ‘Mastery learning’ is where learning is broken down and pupils have to demonstrate their deep knowledge, understanding and confidence of a topic where they have no gaps in their understanding and are able to apply the concepts learned in a variety of ways.  Teachers will talk about what children can do and they will need to have evidence of this as demonstrated through their books and attitude to learning.

Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 National Curriculum Tests
At the end of the Year 2 and Year 6, children’s attainment will be assessed against a national standard. Schools have not been told yet how this ‘scaled score’ will work. As soon as we hear any further news we will let you know.

Yours Sincerely

Anita Gallagher
Executive Headteacher

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