Get involved with trialling new assessments

News - 10 Oct 2017

Rochford Review recommendations: appeal to schools to trial new assessments for pupils below the standard of national curriculum tests

The government’s response to the Rochford Review consultation was published on 14 September. It set out plans for two important changes for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests:

  • For pupils engaged in subject-specific learning, it accepts the Review’s recommendation that the interim pre-key stage standards are made permanent and extended to cover all of these pupils. To give schools adequate time to prepare for these changes, this will take effect from the 2018/19 academic year onwards, with the full suite of pre-key stage standards being published in the 2017/18 spring term.
  • For pupils not yet engaged in subject-specific learning, a pilot of the Review’s recommended approach to assessing these pupils using the 7 areas of engagement for cognition and learning will be run in the 2017/18 academic year, before taking any final decisions on whether to implement this approach on a statutory basis.

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) will be working with schools to run two projects to prepare for these changes:

1. Pre-key stage standard review

The pre-key stage standards will be reviewed, working with teachers and other educational experts, to ensure that they are fit for purpose. This review will follow a thorough process, including: an evaluation by practising teachers, head teachers and local authority representatives; an expert review to act on feedback; and trialling of the final versions. We plan to publish the full suite of pre-key stage standards in spring 2018, for first use by schools in the 2018/19 academic year.

Schools are needed to take part in:

  • An evaluation in autumn term 2017
  • Trialling in spring term 2018

2. Pilot of the 7 areas of engagement for cognition and learning

The pilot will run this academic year, ending in summer 2018, involving approximately 50 schools assessing their pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning against the 7 areas of engagement for cognition and learning. This work will be school-led, with flexibility to develop bespoke approaches based on the 7 areas of engagement that are tailored to the needs of their cohort. However, participating schools will receive support and guidance, including through 8 regional teaching school hubs, to implement their approach and share practice with others. An external research body will be conducting an evaluation of the pilot before any final decisions on whether to implement this approach are made. 

Schools are needed to take part in the pilot, which will run from approximately October half term until the end of the summer term. The project will involve using the 7 areas of engagement throughout, and include initial set-up meetings, a mid-point feedback session in the spring term, and an end-point feedback session in the summer term.

Schools wanting to get involved

If a school would like to volunteer to take part in either of these pilots, or request further information, please contact: Please provide the following information:

  • The name of your school
  • A named contact in your school
  • An approximate number of your pupils that are working below the standard of national curriculum tests, and any relevant information about their school demographics.

For any related events run by the STA, attendees will be reimbursed standard class travel expenses in full and overnight accommodation costs, and teachers’ supply cover will also be paid.



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