How (not) to Assess Children

Last month, the UK’s Department for Education launched a formal consultation to replace the statutory assessment in primary schools throughout England. The consultation is still running, and can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/performance-descriptors-key-stages-1-and-2, and runs until the 18th December. Everyone can respond, and should respond. In my view, this proposal has the potential to seriously damage the education of our children, especially those who are doing well at school.

Currently, English schools report a “level” at the middle of primary school and the end of primary school in reading, writing, maths and spelling, punctuation and grammar. At the end of primary school, typical levels reported range from Level 3 to Level 6, with Level 4 being average. The new proposals effectively do away with reporting a range of attainment, simply indicating whether or not a pupil has met a baseline set of criteria. In my view this is a terrible step backwards: no longer will schools have an external motivation to stretch their most able pupils. In schools with weak leadership and governance, this is bound to have an impact.

I have drafted a response to the consultation document at https://www.scribd.com/doc/246073668/Draft-Response-to-DfE-Consultation.

My response has been “doing the rounds”. Most recently, it was emailed by the Essex Primary Heads Association to all headteachers in Essex. It has also been discussed on the TES Primary Forum and has been tweeted about a number of times.

I am not the only one who has taken issue with this consultation: others include http://thelearningmachine.co.uk/ks1-2-statutory-teacher-assessment-consultation/ and http://michaelt1979.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/primary-teachers-a-call-to-arms/.

Please add your say, and feel free to reuse the text and arguments made in this document.

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