Summary of the government's consultation response to the primary assessment consultation
We have reviewed the response paper and picked out the elements that are most relevant to your work with children with SEND.
Actions to be taken relating to the EYFS:
- consider reducing the number of Early Learning Goals reported on at the end of Reception
- make the descriptors for 'typical level of development' clearer
- bring the ELGs into line with the KS1 curriculum
- in Communication and Language, increase the focus on vocabulary
- look into whether to split the 'emerging' outcome into two bands, to provide greater granularity for those children working below expectations (whilst retaining the same scale for all children, including those with SEND)
- introduce a baseline test at the beginning of Reception, but using a single supplier, from 2020, with a pilot study from 2019-2020
- this baseline test will be made as accessible as possible
- it will only be used to judge a school's outcomes at KS2 (seven years later) and not to track or set targets for individual progress
Actions to be taken relating to KS1:
- statutory KS1 assessments will be removed from 2019-2020
- non-statutory assessments will continue to be available
- schools will still be required to report to parents on progress at the end of KS1
Actions to be taken relating to KS2:
- multiplication tests will be introduced at the end of Y4 from 2019-2020; these tests will be on-line
- the reading test will be moved to later in the week of assessment so that children can 'settle in', rather than it be the first test taken
- the content of the texts used in the reading test will be improved so that they better reflect the broader curriculum
- new Statutory Guidelines for teacher assessment published
- the assessment of writing is to be more flexible: a greater emphasis on composition, less prescription in the technical aspects of writing. The 'secure fit' will now become a 'best fit'. This change will come into effect immediately i.e. from 2017-2018
- improved exemplification materials will be released
Many of these changes should have positive outcomes for children with SEND. For example, the flexibility of assessment in writing ought to mean that children with dyslexia are less disadvantaged as they can demonstrate their abilities with composition even if spelling is less accurate. Greater granularity in the 'emerging' judgment of the EYFS should better reflect children's development and stage, and make it easier to highlight areas of need as well as progress. It is also positive to see that the baseline test will be made as accessible as possible. The movement of the KS2 reading test to later in the week should help children who are less confident with reading.
However, there are areas which may be of some concern, for example, if the EYFS is brought more into line with the KS1 curriculum, will that mean a greater emphasis on phonics, and what impact will that have for children with SEND? How will children with memory and/or maths difficulties manage the multiplication test, and will there be flexibility in how these tests are administered?
We will continue to keep you informed of any developments with assessment, and in particular, how these relate to children with SEND.
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