Pupil progress and rising floor targets

Maddy Barnes looks at how schools will manage to keep pace with rising floor targets in English whilst continuing to spin all of the other plates.

The Senior Leadership Teams in many schools will be posing some of the following questions as discussion topics as we await the consultation for assessment. 

  • What will assessment for English look like in 2016?
  • Will the Key Stage 2 tiered reading test allow all pupils to perform at their best?
  • Are the Key Stage 2 GPS tests going to get progressively more difficult?
  • Will the internally marked Key Stage 1 GPS test be introduced in 2016?
  • What does independent writing really look like in Key Stage 2 moderation?
  • If pupils are expected to make 2 levels progress, how many year 2 pupils get a level 4 that would convert to a level 6 at the end of Key Stage 2?

Of course, some of these questions will be answered once the consultation for assessment has been agreed and posted, others will continue to appear on agendas for SLT meetings over the next couple of terms. Many schools are beginning the process to sieve through the new curriculum for English and are currently identifying how all groups of learners will continue to make progress once the bar has been raised for reading, writing and GPS. A culture of reflection, regularly reviewing pupil progress and monitoring the quality of teaching and learning are embedded in most primary schools. School leaders have sustainable working systems in place that are rigorous and hold staff accountable for progress for all pupils. When pupils have not achieved their progress targets, middle and senior leaders ask questions such as:

What is working in English that is not working in Maths? Why are white British boys not doing as well in reading as writing? Why is progress for SEND pupils in year 4 not as good as progress for SEND pupils in year 3? Which pupils in year 5 are not likely to make 2 levels progress in English?

Of course all of these questions are cohort and individual pupil specific and cannot be answered immediately. Teachers who know their pupils inside out can offer case study style reports to document and explain individual’s progress and interventions (such as published schemes, revision books, practice test papers and skills based resources)  are routinely put in place to support future progress. The process of assessment without levels adds another dimension to pupil progress. How will schools track progress if the language of levels and sub-levels is no longer the common language? Will schools report APS instead and if so as each APS translates to a sub-level, doesn’t this mean that schools will inevitably continue to discuss levels? However schools decide to track their pupil progress data over the next academic year: robust systems will need to continue to be in place; rigorous assessment and monitoring cycles (where staff performance is measured in a triangulation – lesson observation outcomes, book scrutinies outcomes and pupils progress data) need to be established and consideration given to how changes will affect performance related pay. The new National Curriculum is an exciting era in which pupils will continue on their learning journeys guided by teachers, who are also engaging in new learning! Find out more about the new floor targets maddy headshot 2

Maddy Barnes is an Assistant Headteacher and English Consultant. She is a specialist Leader of Education on the North West pilot scheme, as well as being an experienced SATs Marker and Level 6 English Test Moderator.


Assessment, English and Literacy, Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation

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