The following is a brief summary of the STA's KS1: 2017 Tests and Assessments Webinar, broadcast at 12:30 on Tuesday 15th November, 2016.
Last year, the DfE changed its expectations re. handwriting requirements for Writing assessment - are there any changes this year?
A. No change from last year. To reach expected standard, H/Writing not a necessary component.
Why should children who struggle with easier 1st Reading paper do the 2nd harder one?
A. All children should be given opportunity to show what they can do. The first questions in the 2nd paper are easier and then get harder. If a teacher feels that the child is in distress, then they should stop 2nd paper as per their professional judgement.
Query about success criteria use in independent writing
A. Success criteria is useful and has its place in classroom teaching; however, in terms of evidence of independent writing, it must not go too far as otherwise the work is not really independent - schools should look at the available moderation guidance if not sure.
Moderation in pairs - can LAs consider their own arrangements? Is two moderators OK?
A. It is acceptable for a LA to use more than one moderator for a school; however, the key point is to communicate with the school so as not to overwhelm them with lots of people turning up if this is not what they are expecting.
When will the consultation on Primary Assessment be launched?
A. 19th Oct - statement made by Justine Greening. Early in new year - hopefully Jan or early Feb to look at issues in Primary Assessment. Express wish to discuss the point at when the DfE starts to measure progress and the role of teacher assessment.
Why have Year 7 re-sits been scrapped?
A. Secretary of State has confirmed this. This is because of feedback from schools and teachers; there are smarter and better ways to help children that don't involve re-sits. Papers will be made available, but there will not be statutory obligation to use them. Intervention will be a focus to help pupils catch up.
Do children have to pass phonics check to be considered as meeting the expected standard in Reading?
A. If teachers want to include phonics check as evidence of a child meeting expectations that is fine, but there is no formal requirement for a child to pass the test to be considered Working At. If the teacher has enough evidence from daily practise to demonstrate required skills that is sufficient and acceptable.
LA question re. Writing moderation
A. Lots of training will be available to support LAs with the moderation process - far more than previous year. Training will be cascaded so that school to school moderation can also be consistent and high quality.
Will moderation training include specific examples of how to write judgments?
A. (Presenters unsure of exact meaning of this Q). Local Authorities should not expect any 'pro-forma' as to how evidence must be presented for moderation. Teachers can submit evidence in whatever form is suitable. 2017 moderation documents are now available for 2017 cycle.
What are the STA doing about KS1 access arrangements - felt that some children still unable to access materials e.g. those that use computers?
A. There are lots of arrangements available including the use of readers and scribes - the tests are not timed and can be administered in small groups etc. If a child needs to use a computer for writing, so long as additional/supportive features are not used (e.g. spell check) in independent work, then their work should be accepted. It must be based on normal classroom practise. It was felt that there was a wide range of arrangements available; however, any questions, contact STA directly.
Is anything changing with spelling with regards to children with SPLDs such as Dyslexia?
A. No changes to the framework this year apart from the additional wording relating to those children with physical difficulties.
How can we ensure that tests are administered to minimise causing distress?
A. Ideally, tests should be administered as part of normal classroom practise. Teachers shouldn't be putting too much emphasis on the tests (although they appreciate pressure from parents can have an impact).
Optional SPaG - how does this impact on Writing TA?
A. If a school wants to use the SPaG test as evidence for writing that is totally acceptable, but there will be no expectation for teachers to do so. It is completely up to schools how they present their evidence.
Will SPaG come back?
A. Optional this year. With regards to future years, this will be discussed as part of the assessment consultation.
Can a HLTA with qualified teacher status mark the KS1 tests?
A. Ordinarily, a HLTA would not be allowed to mark the tests; however, given that they have QTS they would be considered as acceptable to mark the tests.
Will the test results have to be reported to the LA?
A. No - the tests are there help inform the teacher assessments which will then need to be reported to the DfE. Local Authorities can ask to see tests as part of moderation visits.
What classes as independent in terms of spelling for a child working at the expected standard in writing?
A. Any resources that the child independently accesses e.g. words on the wall or chooses to go and get a dictionary are acceptable. An electronic resource that suggests spellings for a child automatically would not be considered as independent, nor would a teacher's suggestion to check spellings.
Is squared paper allowed in the KS1 Maths test?
A. Squared paper will not be allowed in the arithmetic paper at KS1. This year, some grids will be provided on the paper. For the reasoning papers, then squared paper will be considered as an acceptable adaptation if required.
Who sets the test Q's?
A. It takes up to 3 years to write the tests and teams of experts are involved. After initial review and compilation, there are then expert and teacher reviews, including those with expertise in SEN. The papers are then tested out before being reviewed again. A handbook is due to be published outlining the lengthy and detailed process of test development for those that wish to know more details.
How is it possible that a school could be accused of maladministration in a KS1 test?
A. The tests must be a reflection of the children's own abilities so any over use of support or inappropriate use of access arrangements will be considered as maladministration. For example, with a month long window to actually administer the tests, it would be possible to review the tests and the amend teaching practice prior to the children taking the test. After the tests, inaccurate marking or adjustment of marks would also be considered as maladministration. Any compromise of the security of the test could lead to an investigation - this includes use of social media and discussion with other schools who may not have taken the tests yet. Accidental maladministration can happen in this respect. There is lots of guidance on this area to prevent a school from being accused of maladministration. Good preparation and planning is a good way to prevent such incidents.
What would you say to schools who want to use the Interim Frameworks for formative assessments during the year?
A. Schools can use the frameworks in this way if they choose to; however, the STA would advise that this is not suitable and they should only be used as end of year assessments as suggested.
Should schools be having SATs meetings with parents to help them prepare for the tests?
A. Not a bad idea, but depends on what is being said at the meetings! The tests at KS1 are not new and have always been there. Information to reassure parents such as test administration is useful, terrifying parents is not! Encouraging good practise such as reading at home is beneficial.
Will any schools be chosen to sit the tests early to help with setting scaled scores?
A. Not this year. This needed to be done last year, but won't be necessary going forward as the STA has all the information that is required.
Should P Scales still be used to assess children with SEN?
A. The Rochford Review has made recommendations and the proposals will be consulted on as part of the wider consultation on assessment in the new year. Yes, one of the recommendations is to make P Scales non-statutory; however, it needs to be made clear that for this current academic year, P Scales remain statutory and should still be used. STA Assessment Updates can be subscribed to by going to the STA website.
What does no new test before 2018 actually mean?
A. The announcement in October was that there would be no new tests before academic year 2018/19. There are rumours online of introduction of tests e.g. times table tests and EYFS assessment. To be absolutely clear - there will be NO changes this year or next year to Primary Assessment.
Will there be new test papers for 2017?
A. Yes - schools will have new test papers for each year going forward from now on. If a school wishes to use the 2016 papers as preparation for the tests, that is fine.
Will KS1 moderators be require to undertake training like KS2 moderators do?
A. Yes - there will be lots of training available (see above).
Will LAs have to submit a plan for moderation arrangements?
A. Yes - a template will be sent to LAs to help them with this and to ensure consistency.