Consultation period for performance descriptors for primary teacher assessment now open


untitledThe Department for Education are pursuing feedback on the ‘practical use and implementation of statutory teacher assessment performance descriptors at the end of key stages 1 and 2 for the academic year 2015/2016’.

The consultation period is now open and the DfE are encouraging feedback from schools; organisations representing school teachers and lecturers; subject associations; parents; young people; academies; local authorities; and teachers by 18 December.

The documentation for this consultation states:

‘The new national curriculum, which was introduced in September 2014, sets high expectations for what teachers should teach, and gives them the freedom to decide how to teach. We trust teachers to use their professional judgement in deciding which approaches work best for their pupils. We’re taking the same approach to assessment; we will set high standards for what pupils should be able to achieve at the end of key stages, but between these points it is for schools to decide how to assess pupils against their curriculum.

As part of our reforms, we have not replicated a system of national curriculum levels in the new programmes of study. Levels were intended to provide a universal framework to ensure that schools were measuring attainment and progress consistently. But, over time, it became clear that the level descriptors, which were not closely related to curriculum content, were ambiguous and open to different interpretations.

There will continue to be statutory national tests (with results as a scaled score) and teacher assessments (using new performance descriptors) at the end of key stages 1 and 2 in key subjects. The performance descriptors will underpin these assessments. The assessment and test data will enable parents to compare attainment and progress in different schools. Schools can measure their pupils’ progress and attainment within key stages, and for other subjects, in line with their own curriculum.’

The same document explains that the performance descriptors, which are closely aligned to the new national curriculum, have been designed to assess pupils at the end of key stage 1 and 2 in 2016, once pupils have been taught the new programmes of study for two years. Therefore, it is advised that the performance descriptors are not utilised for the purposes of teacher assessment until after that point, and should not be used in assessment systems until the final versions have been published in September 2015.

We are advised that the performance descriptors have been drafted in collaboration with experts including teachers, representatives from Local Authorities, curriculum and subject experts, and have been observed and supported by Ofsted and Ofqual.

You can read the documentation here, and you are able to respond either online, by email or post.


By email to:

By post to:
Rashida Akbar/Jennifer Conlon
Department for Education
Assessment Policy Team
Level 2
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street


DfE, key stage 1, key stage 2, national curriculum, new curriculum, statutory tests

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