How are you using the Optional Tests?
We use the Optional Tests in the final half term of the year in Years 1, 3, 4 and 5. This is because they provide a consistent approach to assessment across all non-SATs year groups. Year 2 and 6 teachers also make use of the tests as preparation for the national tests.
We use the tests to assess reading, maths and GPS across all year groups. They enable us to prepare pupils for the structure of the statutory tests.
The papers allow us to draw comparisons, particularly across groups and classes within parallel year groups.
How are you using the data from the tests?
We use the raw scores to help make our final judgements about attainment at the end of the academic year, which also comes in useful when reporting to parents. We use the results alongside other evidence to ensure robust teacher assessment. We collate the scores centrally, which allows us to compare groups of pupils and draw conclusions about progress across the school.
Do the tests help to inform your teacher judgements?
Knowing that they’re mapped to the relevant content for each year group, for the new national curriculum, means we have complete confidence that the tests will cover the work taught and allow us to make good judgements.
Do the tests help you to identify whether children are meeting expectations?
The ability to map against end of Key Stage outcomes has been particularly valuable for us because it helps us to identify pupils who appear to be falling behind or exceeding our prior expectations. It has also allowed us to
begin to identify groups and individuals in need of more support.
Have you found the Optional Tests easy to use?
Yes, very much so. The similarity to the national test model is extremely helpful.
To what extent do you feel that the papers have prepared children for the experience of the national tests?
The Optional Tests have allowed us to provide consistency from the previously-available QCA optional tests, while bringing things into line with the new national curriculum. The children are familiar with the end-of-year assessment each year in a low-stakes environment. This helps to make the Year 6 tests feel nothing out of the ordinary.
What would you say is the main benefit of using the Optional Tests?
For us, the key thing is to have a consistent assessment which we can use across the school and which closely mirrors the structure, format and contents of the national tests in Years 2 and 6.
Would you recommend this resource to other schools?
We would recommend the tests. They provide a consistent model of assessment across the school that aligns with the expectations of the national tests.They allow teachers to use an external source to support their own
professional judgement, whilst enabling school leaders to build up a picture of attainment.