NAHT Assessment Framework – A Review

Last month I reviewed the three main assessment schemes offered for primary schools as part of the DfE’s Assessment Innovation Fund programme. Later in July, with no fanfare whatsoever as far as I can tell, the NAHT released its own suggested framework for primary schools. This followed the recommendation of its Assessment Commission that the NAHT should “develop and promote a set of model assessment criteria“. Consequently, I thought it only appropriate to offer the same treatment.

nahtI was pleased to see the NAHT report back in February, and have been equally pleased to see the general outcome of their expert group’s suggestions for a new assessment framework – not least because it very closely mirrors my own framework!

The panel appears to have acted upon the very good advice of the Expert Panel set up to review the National Curriculum, by setting out an assessment framework which clearly and directly links assessment outcomes to specific learning criteria. The approach has been the same as that which I used to derive the Key Objectives: the group has reviewed the objectives from each year group and stage, and highlighted those which is considers to be Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Alongside this, for each year group they have written a short performance statement to support a broader understanding of expectations and to support in sharing with parents both expectations and progress.

It is notable that the NAHT framework appears to have slightly fewer objectives from the curriculum recorded as Key Performance Indicators than I selected for the Key Objectives I created. This is particularly of interest as, when I was constructing the Key Objective lists I was aware that some colleagues were concerned that by missing out smaller objectives an important element was lost. Arguably the NAHT team might say that I didn’t miss out enough! By way of example, I chose 15 Key Objectives for Y1 Maths, where the NAHT framework has selected 11 – although some are combined or separated slightly differently from my own list. By Y6 the gaps widens slightly (30 vs around 20 objectives) although again the organisation is slightly altered. I feel that my model offers slightly more clarity… but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

The materials accompanying the framework quite rightly suggest that schools should adopt the methodology of the framework rather than just transplanting the KPIs without evaluating them. I think that’s important because if there is one shortfall that I would identify with the KPIs chosen by the NAHT team, it is that they have underestimated the importance of some of the fractions statements from the curriculum documentation: schools will need to ensure that their students are confident in use of fractions in line with the objectives in the National Curriculum, and very few of these appear to have been selected as Key Performance Indicators. Similarly, in Y5/6 Reading I felt that the very important objective of “Identifying how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning” has not been selected. It’s clearly important that schools consider selecting their own criteria based on the model.

In addition to the Key Performance Indicators, the NAHT has also suggested that the information could be recorded using spreadsheets both to track progress, and to provide summarised data. They provide simple screenshots of such an approach in the accompanying video, but do not provide templates or similar. However, this is entirely in line with the spreadsheets initially created by Tim Clarke which track progress against the Key Objectives I set out. If schools chose to adopt the NAHT model, they could adapt the spreadsheets from this site to record and track progress.

Overall, I can’t help but be positive about the NAHT’s work, but then, it so closely fits with the model I have been suggesting, and meets the criteria set out by the National Curriculum Expert Panel that it couldn’t go far wrong.

For School Leaders who are members of the NAHT, the link to download the assessment framework materials is:

For schools wishing to consider using my Key Objective model, the resources can all be downloaded from this link. For each subject there is a booklet listing the Key Objectives (broadly similar to the NAHT’s Key Performance Indicators) and a spreadsheet for tracking progress against the objectives (which the NAHT seems only to suggest; they haven’t actually shared one as far as I can tell.)

Assessment & Tracking Resource Pack

Assessment & Tracking Resource Pack

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4 thoughts on “NAHT Assessment Framework – A Review

  1. cazzypot2013 21 August 2014 at 5:31 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

  2. James Procter 3 September 2014 at 8:08 am Reply

    Great to hear your thoughts on the NAHT KPIs – I haven’t found much discussion of them elsewhere.
    We are keen to use them but have noticed some anomalies Eg Y3 maths – learning written columnar addition and subtraction method is not a KPI but seems to be a key part of Y3 learning… I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Michael Tidd 3 September 2014 at 7:21 pm Reply

      Hi James,
      Thanks for your comments. As you say, there doesn’t seem to have been much talk about the KPIs, but then they were fairly quietly released too.
      As you point out, column method seems a fairly key point for Y3 so I have definitely included it as a Key Objective in my approach. That’s why I suggested in the blog that schools adopt the model, but not necessarily automatically adopt the specific KPIs that have been proposed, because I think there are some key points missing.
      I suspect it’ll be easier to decide which are key when we get more information about performance descriptors and tests and the like, but meanwhile I’d certainly propose that schools spend some time selecting the relevant outcomes for themselves. They could start with the NAHT ones as a base, or with my Key Objectives similarly – or even draw the two together and then come up with their own shortlist.

  3. […] least in education. For some reason, this is when I discovered that the NAHT had quietly released its excellent model framework for assessment without levels. The obligatory Ofsted changes were a more significant overhaul, […]

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