Last July the DfE published a consultation on reform to primary school assessment – or how schools should assess pupils after Levels have been abolished.   The consultation closed in October and yesterday, 5 months later, we have the Government response.

So has it been worth waiting for?  We are now finally moving forwards and are given a fairly good idea of what the Government are intending, but at the same time there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Over the next couple of weeks I hope to have a good look at the document and reflect on what other commentators are saying.  I will suggest how I see the Assessment Data appearing for parents, for schools and for Ofsted.

Summary of Recommendations

The DfE document can be found here.


  • There will be a new reception baseline assessment of all pupils in the first few weeks at school (in Reception Year).  Ultimately this will be the baseline that is used in measuring Progress at the end of Key Stage 2 (year 6).  This will be carried out by teachers using one of several assessment systems that will be accredited by the DfE.
  • Schools will be able to opt-out of the Reception Baseline Assessments, but in this case their End of Key Stage 2 Floor Standard will be based on attainment – and will require a high level of achievement (see later)
  • The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (the assessment of children at the end of Reception year) will no longer be compulsory.

Key Stage 1

  • At the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2) pupils will take tests in Reading, Maths and GPS (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling).  These test scores will help the teachers give Teacher Assessments in Reading, Maths and Writing respectively.  The assessment will, for each subject, be one of a set of Performance Descriptors that describe the ability of the pupil (is this just like a level but with a lot of words?).  Pupils will also receive a similar Teacher Assessment in Speaking & Listening and in Science, but these assessments will not be informed by tests.
  • The end of Key Stage 1 Tests will be significant for the next few years as they will be used as the baseline for measuring progress.  After 2022 the new Reception Baseline will be used for measuring progress at the end of Key Stage 2.

Key Stage 2

  • At the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6) pupils will again sit tests in Reading, GPS (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling) and Maths. These test scores will be published on a Scale where a score of 100 represents the new expected standard for the Stage.  Individual scores will be provided to the pupil and parent, and aggregated scores will be published externally.  Local and National averages will also be provided for comparison.
  • Teacher Assessments will also be reported for Maths, Reading, Writing and Science.

Floor Standards

Schools will be expected to meet a minimum requirement at the end of Key Stage 2.  This can be either:

  • Pupils will need to make sufficient progress from their Baseline (i.e. their Reception Baseline) to the end of Key Stage 2. As yet there is no detail on how this will be measured, and initially it will be based on progress from the Year 2 assessments),
  • or
  • 85% of pupils will need to reach the new expected standard which will be the equivalent of a 4B in the current system.

What else is in the Response Document?

Low Attaining Pupils

– There is a section on assessment of Low Attaining Pupils which suggests that the use of P-Scales will continue.

Publishing Results on School Website

 – There is a list of (fairly ambiguous) items that a school will be expected to publish on their website.

Other School Phases & Interim Arrangements

– There are also sections on varied arrangements for Infant, Junior and Middle Schools, though it is obvious that more work needs doing in these areas.  There is also detail on how things will work between now and 2023 – allowing for Reception Pupils in 2016 to work their way through the system.  It remains to be seen whether these arrangements will still apply in 2023 given that there will be at least 2 general elections between now and then.

Coming Next

 – What will the Key Stage Reports (for parents, pupils and school) look like in the next few years?

Categories: News and policy

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