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What methods are your dc school using to keep track of attainment? Parents Evening coming up.

(27 Posts)
AmazonGrace Mon 09-Feb-15 13:05:52

Have parents evening coming up and at the last meeting, Oct last year, ds school were still using NC levels to provide us with our dc current levels.

I'd like to be more informed this time around and wanted to know what your dc schools are doing with regards to tracking attainment, should schools still be using the old levels? How do I know if ds is still on track?

Is it just a case of looking at the curriculum and striking off what he can and cannot do? Maths being particularly of interest.

It would be interesting to hear from both parents and teachers to find out the different methods other schools are using.

If I'm honest, without the levels to go off, I have no idea how ds should be doing at this stage, sort of leaves you a bit in limbo land doesn't it.

AsBrightAsAJewel Mon 09-Feb-15 19:29:19

There is lots of variety out there! I've heard of some schools doing termly timed tests in reading, writing, grammar, spelling and maths from year one upwards. hmm Others have a checklist of skills from the new curriculum to tick off those mastered and some of these schools track by the percentage of the year's objectives achieved. Some school have bought commercial tracking software with each year group's attainment broken down into three, six or nine sublevel. e.g. emerging/ expected/ exceeding, or emerging / emerging plus/ expected /expected plus / exceeding /exceeding plus or other words meaning much the same thing. Trouble is there is no criteria to define what is each "sublevel" or what makes the difference between, say, emerging plus and expected.
Plus, some schools will be determinedly hanging on to those old NC levels! And probably numerous other systems... or nothing.

AmazonGrace Mon 09-Feb-15 19:58:17

Now this makes sense, AsBright. Ds has told me he's had a maths timed test today, ten minutes to answer 144 table questions, he did mention they'd had some tests last week too! He's in Y3. Will be interesting to hear what methods are being used at PE.

Thanks for the info sad

AmazonGrace Mon 09-Feb-15 19:58:41

Ooh meant to click the grin face!

FindMeAPixie Tue 10-Feb-15 10:02:20

I think different schools are adopting different approaches. Our primary (I am a Parent Governor) has adopted a system developed by an not-for-profit offshoot of the LEA/Local Schools. (We are North Herts and the company developing it are called Herts For Learning).

So rather than individually developing a system (expensive/time consuming) we are buying one in if you like. It means other experts have done the graft and that there is consistency as the other local schools are also adopting it - so good for moderation/benchmarking etc.

Seems to be a bit of a tick box exercise - requirements of NC listed and as each child gets them they are marked off iyswim.

BlueChampagne Tue 10-Feb-15 15:16:14

Probably best if you ask the teacher about their assessment methods and criteria, though these are probably still bedding in with the new curriculum. You could suggest a workshop for parents to explain new/revised methods.

AmazonGrace Tue 10-Feb-15 15:25:57

I'm hoping to raise these points at PE but just wanted to gauge what was happening in other schools. I've suggested a Maths workshop before now but it's fallen on deaf ears.

nicknamerunout Tue 10-Feb-15 17:09:27

Can you ask the teacher simply what it is comparing the old scheme? So you can just get an idea?

AmazonGrace Tue 10-Feb-15 17:49:16

Yes Nickname, I've already stated I'll be asking question at PE but I was curious what other schools are doing with regards to this.

mrz Tue 10-Feb-15 18:09:28

We are using the year group expectations as the criterion for assessment

Hulababy Tue 10-Feb-15 18:17:32

OFSTED will look pretty negatively on schools still using NC levels, other than in y2 and y6. Thats the advise we have certainly been sent.

I work in an infant school and we have taken on the Sheffield devised steps scheme:

We started using it in September for Y1 and will use it for Y2 next year. EYFS refer to it also.

AmazonGrace Tue 10-Feb-15 19:07:53

Thanks Mrz and Hulababy, this is what I was looking for.

egnahc Tue 10-Feb-15 20:12:42

OFSTED will look pretty negatively on schools still using NC levels, other than in y2 and y6. Thats the advise we have certainly been sent.

Sent by whom? The current framework has very clear guidance on this.

In addition academies do not have to teach the national curriculum and do not have to assess against it. They are held accountable for KS1 and KS2 outcomes in testing arrangement based on the National Curriculum.

egnahc Tue 10-Feb-15 20:13:54

151. The statutory requirement from 1 September 2014 is for maintained schools to teach the relevant national curriculum programmes of study by the end of the key stage. (Academies and free schools do not have to teach the national curriculum.) Schools can teach the elements in the programmes of study in any order, even where they are written for separate year groups.

egnahc Tue 10-Feb-15 20:37:47

190. In 2014/15, most schools, academies and free schools will have historic performance data expressed in national curriculum levels, except for those pupils in Year 1. Inspectors may find that schools are tracking attainment and progress using a mixture of measures for some, or all, year groups and subjects.

Hulababy Tue 10-Feb-15 20:44:17

egnahcisor - that was from an OFSTED advisor, very recently. It is mainly as the new NC does not match up with the old NC levels. However, that was advice for a state maintained school, not an academy. I assume academies may well have their own guidelines.

egnahc Tue 10-Feb-15 20:53:26

egnahcisor - that was from an OFSTED advisor, very recently.

If it isn't in the framework and handbook then an 'Ofsted inspector' cant make a judgement on it or request it. The quotes above are from the current section 5 inspection handbook which overrides the views of additional inspectors (and indeed HMI)

AsBrightAsAJewel Tue 10-Feb-15 21:10:20

"Inspectors will not expect to see a particular assessment system in place and will recognise that schools are still working towards full implementation of their preferred approach." From Note for inspectors: use of assessment information during inspections in 2014/15

egnahc Tue 10-Feb-15 21:18:32


Exactly. Number 1 question for Ofsted inspectors who make bold statements. Can you show me where it says that in the handbook.

AsBrightAsAJewel Tue 10-Feb-15 21:35:51

But having colleagues who have been working with HMIs it is scary how little they know of the expectations for the new curriculum and how it is assessed! The teachers seem more clued up than the inspectors in the discussions I've heard of, which begs the question how can they make the inspection judgments if they don't know what they should be seeing?

Hulababy Tue 10-Feb-15 22:19:33

Oh, I agree that ofsted inspectors don't always know what is/should happen. I am simply passing on the info we had recently. It doesn't actually affect us anyway as we are no longer using NC levels apart from in Y2, and that will end in July.

mrz Wed 11-Feb-15 06:34:05

I think the key word in your post was"mixture" of course schools will have the previous year's data in levels but the current year's data using a new assessment measure ... ,last year we had levels this year we don't.
The point hula is making is that this year inspectors will want to see maintained schools using appropriate assessment methods aligned with the curriculum being taught not continuing to yes measures linked to the old curriculum.

mrz Wed 11-Feb-15 06:46:08

Ofsted's revised guidance from September 2014
"Guidance has also been revised to support inspectors in making judgements following the phased removal of National Curriculum levels from September 2014. Ofsted have no preferred model of assessment. In the absence of National curriculum levels, inspectors will look at other evidence including the scrutiny of pupils’ books and checking conceptual expectations and discussions with pupils that explore how and what they learn."

AmazonGrace Wed 11-Feb-15 07:12:52

Ds attends a state maintained school.

I'm presuming this is why, last week, they had various tests. Although I'm a little hmm as surely the teachers must know where ability wise, a child is without making them sit tests. I could be well off with this but that's a weeks worth of learning they've now not covered.

AsBrightAsAJewel Wed 11-Feb-15 07:24:45

The last head teacher I was talking to was using a criterion based assessment system that teachers check off the curriculum content from the specific year. This is great for planning next steps in learning. However to be able to condense individual children and cohorts to measurable data for OFSTED, and parents if they want standardised scores, they are also doing the termly tests. To my mind this is overkill, but the head feels numerical data can be tracked. Teachers concerns are that the tests can create a different picture of that child compared to the day-in-day-out assessments against the actual curriculum made in the classroom. Plus some feel pressurised to get good test scores so teach to the tests.

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