One of the (many) challenges of the new world of assessment is knowing just how much of the curriculum a child needs to secure to be on track to achieve the vital scaled score of 100 in the new tests. This week we got a little glimmer of help on this front, when the new test frameworks were published.
Now, I should stress from the start that I don’t offer this as a guaranteed measure (far from it), or even necessarily advise that you take any notice of it. But for those people looking closely at the new expectations, it’s certainly a matter of interest. I have started going through the performance descriptors tucked away in the new test frameworks which outline “the typical characteristics of pupils in Year 6 (or Year 2) working at the threshold of the expected standard”
The DfE themselves include a couple of caveats here which are worth noting, that the frameworks are not designed for teacher assessment or to guide teaching and learning (full text below). Nevertheless, the importance placed on the tests mean that it is useful for schools to have this information as a guide. It is my intention to repeat this process for each test, but I have started with Maths as it is the most straightforward.
The first key thing to note is that there appears to be a real difference in expectations of ‘coverage’ across the two key stages. The criteria for scoring 100 on the KS1 test match almost exactly with the specifications of the Year 2 curriculum: in essence, children will need to have learned almost the entire KS1 curriculum to be ‘on-track’ for scoring 100 in the KS1 Maths tests.
By contrast, the framework seems to show that children will not be expected to be secure in the entirety of the primary curriculum to reach the expected score of 100. In fact, in mathematics, it looks as though achieving around 60% of the Year 6 criteria securely should be just about sufficient to reach the golden score of 100. That’s based on cross-referencing each of the 48 Y6 curriculum objectives against the statements from the performance descriptor. Alongside this, it appears that almost the entire spread of Y5 objectives will be needed at a secure level. Neverthless, this is a good deal less than some of us feared (I had previously been aiming for 85% security as a minimum).
Interestingly, if you strip the objectives back to the 30 I set out in my Key Objectives documents, then the 60% threshold still holds true. If you’re using only the NAHT’s Key Performance Indicators, then the percentage will need to rise to around 70% (as there are far fewer of these).
You can download the full document to see the direct comparison between Y5/6 maths objectives (taken directly from the National Curriculum) and the item from the performance descriptor here:
I shall endeavour to repeat the process for the Reading and GPS tests (although reading is much harder to pin down) if I can. I have now looked at the other subjects, and it’s worth being aware that 70% does not look like a universal requirement; it’s much harder to separate out the content for the GPS tests because of the way the curriculum is (poorly) organised, and it’s virtually impossible to draw comparisons for the Reading statements because the statutory curriculum is very broad and focuses largely on discussion and teaching approaches rather than outcomes. Nevertheless, I’ve tried to draw the comparisons as best I can, and it seems that for the other subjects children will be expected to be familiar with almost the entire curriculum content. I have attached the relevant curriculum comparison documents here:
Caveats taken directly from the Maths test framework:
The framework specifies the purpose, format, content and cognitive domains of the key stage 2 mathematics tests; it is not designed to be used to guide teaching and learning or to inform statutory teacher assessment.
This performance descriptor describes the typical characteristics of pupils whose performance in the key stage 2 tests is at the threshold of the expected standard. Pupils who achieve the expected standard in the tests have demonstrated sufficient knowledge to be well placed to succeed in the next phase of their education, having studied the full key stage 2 programme of study in mathematics. This performance descriptor will be used by a panel of teachers to set the standards on the new tests following their first administration in May 2016. It is not intended to be used to support teacher assessment since it reflects only the elements of the programme of study that can be assessed in a paper-based test