Ten key themes from Colin Watson's Education Show presentation

Colin Watson is the Deputy Director of Assessment Policy and Development at the DfE. Unsurprisingly his presentation at the Education Show this morning was 'standing room only' as hundreds of teachers gathered to hear his update on assessment for Primary schools. We thought it would be useful to summarise some of the key themes for those of you who were unable to get to the NEC today.

  1. Levels are not in line with the freedom intended to come with the new curriculum and the accountability system did not allow for great work to be recognised, therefore levels are not to be used with the new curriculum.
  2. Formative assessment is vital in classrooms every day but it is the responsibility of schools and not something central government should be involved with.
  3. New national tests mean a new floor standard has been raised. 85% of children will be expected to achieve a scaled score of 100 by the end of primary school.
  4. A school will only fall below this floor if pupils make poor progress AND fewer than 85% achieve the expected standard in national KS2 tests.
  5. The scaled score is yet to be determined and can only be decided using real data from the first set of new tests.
  6. The new progress measure will be a 'value-added' measure rather than an 'expected level of progress' measure.
  7. From 2016 a DfE-approved Reception Baseline Assessment will be the only measure the Department for Education will use to assess progress of children through primary school from Reception. Six suppliers have met the criteria and made it onto the DfE-approved shortlist and schools should make their selection by the end of April to ensure their chosen provider is on the final list.
  8. From September 2016 schools will no longer be required to carry out and submit data on the EYFS profile.
  9. A commission on assessment without levels has been launched by the DfE to support primary schools in making informed choices about which assessment system is right for them. It also aims to highlight great work already underway in schools and to identify and share good practice.
  10. Schools should be tracking progress to ensure children meet the national standard and don't get left behind.

We will continue to update and explore these themes via our assessment website over the upcoming months, so do pop back regularly for the latest articles!



formative assessment, key stage 1, key stage 2, national tests, new curriculum, scaled score

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