The following is a brief summary of the STA's KS2: 2017 Tests and Assessments Webinar, broadcast at 15:45 on Tuesday 15th November, 2016.
Minor Changes to note for KS2 ARA:
Last year, markers were given extra guidance alongside the mark scheme available to schools. Could schools have access to this additional information to prevent them from sending in papers for re-marking unnecessarily?
A. Markers get a day’s training and are given a different set of information. This information will not be released to schools as it is delivered in the context of the training. The mark scheme that is available should be sufficient for schools to make their decision as to whether or not they wish to apply for papers to be re-marked.
What are the changes for the 2016 accountability measures?
A. New expected and higher standard introduced for attainment. New progress measures introduced which are intended to be fairer as they include the progress that all children make. This year, the new attainment and progress measures will be published in December and it is not until then that schools will be identified as below the floor standard (floor standards clarified).
It was explained how Prior Attainment Groups are used to compare KS1 results and KS2 results and how progress is measured using this information. (see Primary Accountability document for full guidance).
Last year, the DfE changed the expectations on hand writing and it was no longer deemed a requirement to demonstrate joined up writing in order to meet the expected standard. Are there any changes to this?
A. There is no change from 2016. Pupils will not have to demonstrate joined up handwriting to be awarded expected standard in Writing. They will, however, need to demonstrate it to be awarded Greater Depth standard for Writing.
Are there going to be any changes made to the online additional time system this year?
A. Last year, 7 questions were asked to determine whether a child qualified for additional time. This year, it will be staying relatively stable; however they are currently reviewing one question around handwriting. The wording of this particular question will be made clearer before the system opens for use.
Why are the G'ment proposing a consultation now after so many changes have already been implemented?
A. On 19th Oct, the Secretary for State, Justine Greening set out her arrangements for this year. One of the agreements was that there would be no new types of assessment until at least academic year 2018/19. She also expressed a willingness to conduct a consultation on primary assessment, listening to feedback and acknowledging the difficulties in the system. It is felt that now is a good time to ‘take stock’ and work with the teaching profession and other stakeholders to try and find a basis for going forward - together. The consultation document has yet to be written, but certainly it will include a discussion of the best starting point to measure progress from in primary schools and the role and operation of teacher assessment. Jan/Feb is the expected time for the consultation launch.
Is the KS2 Reading test likely to be as challenging as the 2016 paper?
A. The standard needed to reach 100 (expected) will stay the same and it will continue to be a raised expectation. The test is designed to start with the easiest text and easier questions which get progressively harder. However, this year, the STA have paid particular attention to the experience of the children and are hoping that this year's test will be perceived as more accessible to the children.
Will there be greater clarification for identification of children with physical disabilities with regards to the handwriting elements?
A. No further guidance will be published. It is expected that decisions will be made based on usual classroom practice and that schools will be able to demonstrate this should they be moderated.
Should we continue to use P Scales 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.
Can the results from last year be used to help with predictions for this year?
A. Under the new system there is no target which the DfE expects any inpidual to make with regards to progress. It will be difficult to use last year’s results as the new measure is a VA measure and this year’s children will be measured against their own cohort and not last years.
How are cases of Maladministration investigated?
A. There are a number of cases each year and each is investigated and taken seriously. The action taken will be dependent on the the form of allegation. The school may be visited, scripts may be examined, schools may be asked for a statement etc. Some schools are aware they are being investigated, others are not. Each case is taken as inpidual and treated accordingly. All cases are treated as confidential. If anybody has concerns, they can be raised confidentially and discreetly.
Why has the government done a U-turn on plans to to introduce Year 7 resits?
A. This is because of feedback from schools and teachers; there are smarter and better ways to help children that don’t involve re-sits. High quality materials will be made available, but there will not be statutory obligation to use them. Evidence based intervention will be a focus to help pupils catch up.
Is the handwriting criteria applicable in the ITAF frameworks?
A. Same arrangements as 2016. See above.
During the KS1 session, you stated resources could be used if considered normal classroom practice. Is this the case for KS2 this year as this would be new?
A. Panel unsure of what this question is referring to? Reiterated points made in KS1 talk:
Re. Spelling - 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.
Re. Success Criteria - 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.
Will there be more sample papers this year?
A. No - these were provided in 2015 to help teachers be prepared for what to expect. The 2015 materials can still be used and the 2016 papers can also be used with discretion to help familiarise pupils with the test. However, so long children get a full and rich curriculum, they will be prepared for the tests.
What does no new test before 2018/19 actually mean?
A. It means no new types of tests or assessments. There will have been question marks around the Year 7 resits - it has been confirmed that these won't go ahead. The other concern is the introduction of mandatory new measures for end of Reception.
These will not be introduced, nor will the times tables check, before 2018/19. There will be newcontent each year i.e. new test materials for each year.
Please can you explain what it means to be coasting?
A. Definition of a coasting school has been published in the Primary Accountability Document. However, the actual definition of the word ‘coasting’ needs to be agreed by Government. Coasting schools will be identified using three years of data. This information will be published in the performance tables in December.
If my school was under investigation, would I know?
A. Not necessarily - it depends on the type of allegation, for example, if the allegation was around test papers, this could be investigated without contacting the school as the papers are not held at the school. If a school does need to be contacted and asks who has made the allegation, this is not disclosed as confidentially an anonymity is provided.
Why can’t we ask schools for a rank order of children prior to moderation visits (from LA)?
A. LAs are not allowed to ask this as it is considered an increased burden on the schools. Some LAs and schools have come to an agreement about whether this is acceptable and, provided that the schools provide evidence that they are happy with this, there can be an exception. STA have provided comprehensive moderation guidance. Any deviation from this needs to be taken up with the LA as the STA have made arrangements quite clear.
When is the times tables test going to be introduced?
A. Rapid recall of tables is key to succeed in Maths and the Government has made clear its intention to introduce a test. Justine Greening confirmed it will be gong ahead, but won’t be before the 2018/19 academic year. It is envisaged to be an on screen test and trialling and development work will be undertaken over the next two years to ensure it is easy to administer and effective. ICT aspects will need to be thought through carefully to ensure schools are not disadvantaged e.g. not a good broadband signal/enough computers.
How are the tests developed?
A. A team of experts work to a published specification which describes the framework within which the questions will be written. Experts then write the questions and there are then a series of reviews. Alongside that are larger scale trials looking at both inpidual questions and the test as a whole. T he whole process takes about three years. It is a rigorous process. There is a plan in the Spring to release documentation on how the tests have been developed for teacher information.
If my school is coasting, can it be forced to become an academy?
A. Once identified as coasting, additional support will be offered to the school. If it is believed that the school has capacity to improve itself then it will be given the opportunity to do so. In a small number of cases, it may be felt that the school can only improve if it becomes part of an academy; however, no schools can be forced.
If we apply for a timetable extension, do we have to wait to seal all the test papers in the transparent bag?
A. No - seal the papers taken on a particular day on that day so that they are kept securely in the transparent bag. There is an outer opaque bag in which any late papers can be added. Guidance will be published online in March as well as being provided with the test materials themselves to make this process clearer, following feedback from last year.
How can you ensure moderation is going to be consistent across LAs?
A. Guidance this year is clearer for both teachers and LAs. LA events are happening at the minute and all LAs have signed up for the events. Each LA will then get the clarity that they need and training which will then be cascaded. Every moderator will also undertake specific training/standardisation exercises which are being organised by the STA. Lots of stakeholders involved in the guidance this year so the STA is confident it will be better.