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Primary assessment and accountabilty under the new National Curriculum


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https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1920&external=no&menu=1

 

Although this may not at first look like it has anything to do with you be warned. Section 5.6 has something that could be used to measure pre school effectiveness it would seem.

 

The removal of any end of key stage/end of EYFS assessment based on observation and professional judgement of people who know the child, to replace it with a notional assessment "test" on entry is a dangerous thing in my opinion.

 

This starts to build the removal of reception children from the EYFS in essence making them part of the Primary school assessment process and removes the principled pedagogical approach of current national assessments for those children. The assessment knowledge of the child from pre school providers would be universally ignored. Assessment of the child would only be seen to start when they start in reception.

Tests could be completed through commercial products which in my experience would not be based on what a child can do but rather record what they cannot.

 

I think that this is a cynical DfE move to sneak this into a consultation which the EYFS sector would not look at usually. This is off th back of Michael Wilshaw's comments on the EYFSP not meeting the needs of the Primary assessment/curriculum I feel.

 

Please read and if you can respond please do. It may not be about EYFS to you but it is about EYFS children.

 

Proposals:

5.6

Introduce a baseline at the start of reception

Key stage 1 tests, at the end of year 2, are not a genuine baseline for primary schooling. Measuring a baseline from the end of key stage 1 gives schools no credit for the crucial work they do in reception, year 1 and year 2. There is also a perverse incentive for schools not to focus resources on early interventions, in order to maximise their progress measures. We could instead take a baseline shortly after pupils entered reception. Progress measures would therefore reflect the whole time that a pupil spent in a school, and would reward schools which taught well from the very start. It could also provide valuable national information on the effectiveness of different types of early years provision.

5.7

We could introduce a simple check at the start of reception, to be used as a baseline to measure progress and to inform schools about each pupil’s strengths and weaknesses on entry. Schools often assess what pupils can and cannot do when they begin school. The baseline check could be administered by a teacher within two to six weeks of each pupil entering reception and would be subject to external monitoring similar to that used at key stage 1. The results of the check would be collected to provide the baseline for progress measures. We would develop or procure a statutory baseline check.

5.8

To avoid any increase in the overall assessment burden, if we introduced a baseline check at the start of reception, the EYFS Profile would be made non-statutory. Although schools could still choose to assess using the EYFS Profile, they would not be required to do so. The remainder of the EYFS framework would remain statutory. We would not collect EYFS Profile data or moderate its outcomes.

Question 6: Should we introduce a baseline check at the start of reception?

5.9

Another approach we could consider is to allow schools to choose and administer a baseline check from a range of providers, and report the results to be used as a baseline. Research studies would be required to ensure that the available baseline checks were comparable and consistent. We could also consider whether the reception baseline check could be optional for schools. Schools that were particularly concerned about the assessment burden at the start of primary could choose not to administer the check to reduce the amount of testing. These schools would be judged by attainment alone in performance tables and floor standards. They would still track pupils’ progress internally and make this data available to Ofsted.

Question 7: Should we allow schools to choose from a range of commercially-available assessments?

Question 8: Should we make the baseline check optional?

5.10

If we measured progress from the start of reception, the need for key stage 1 assessments to provide school accountability measures would reduce. End of key stage 1 tests would continue to provide an important accountability measure for infant schools and should remain statutory for them. Infant schools’ key stage 1 test results would provide the baseline to measure progress in junior schools. However, we could consider making end of key stage 1 national curriculum tests non-statutory for all-through primary schools. Since key stage 1 tests provide an important way for schools to benchmark themselves nationally and identify pupils at risk of under-performance, the Standards and Testing Agency would continue to make them available for use on an optional basis.

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I agree with you Catma, this is a very damaging proposal for the sector. It smacks of going back to the l990's when children were assessed within the first few weeks of starting school. The assessment didn't allow for children to get used to their new surroundings or adults and if the assessment was shared with parents they became very anxious that their child was going backwards as no recognition of natural development made in pre-school/nursery was noted.

 

It is vital that every practitioner in the sector reads this document and contributes to the consultation. If this one is read in conjunction with the one for The Regulation of Childcare, our early years sector will go through yet another massive change of direction that will not contribute to inproved outcomes for children and will have long lasting effects for children, parents and practitioners.

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I am also very worried about the type of things that are going to be assessed. Already with Sats we see many schools teaching to a very narrow curriculum in order to do well at those particular tests. I would hate to see that same mentality introduced into Early Years where parents feel the need to 'hothouse' their child in order to do well.

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Looking at a picture of 4 cat on a computer screen and being able to say it is 4 cats was one thing I read in a report. This is not about developmental appropriateness but about a set of criteria it will be expected 4 year olds can do and if they just can't yet they will be seen as below average. "Can cut with scissors" starts to creep in again as a benchmark of competency in all young children.

 

I am quietly despairing.

Cx

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makes me shudder just thinking back to when this used to happen.... I had parents coaching children to do things as at our local school the headmaster used to see all the children before they started to do a series of things which they used as baseline... remembering of course that some were 3 when he did this...

 

we had pressure from parents as they had to 'pass' the test and from school as they wanted them able to do things way above their actual ability.. was a nightmare time..

 

not all were like that but can see it happening again..

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It could also provide valuable national information on the effectiveness of different types of early years provision.

 

I find this quite chilling, and it would explain the pressures that you describe Inge. It may make practitioners fear that if the results of the Reception tests are poor, there will be repercussions for their setting. So they might be persuaded that their developmentally appropriate practice does not offer sufficient guarantee that children will achieve those tests in September, and look to more formal teaching methods instead.

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I find this quite chilling, and it would explain the pressures that you describe Inge. It may make practitioners fear that if the results of the Reception tests are poor, there will be repercussions for their setting. So they might be persuaded that their developmentally appropriate practice does not offer sufficient guarantee that children will achieve those tests in September, and look to more formal teaching methods instead.

 

.........and who do we 'know' that favours more formal teaching methods :ph34r:

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Thanks Inge. I'm glad they've picked it up. I'm certain most non-school based staff will think "what does this have to do with me" and as the article says, this for me is the start of the dismantling of the EYFS into different sectors and parts back to where we were pre 2004.

 

 

Good to see Jan Dubiel speaking out against this! (Hi Jan if you read this!!)

 

 

This today http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2013/jul/18/testing-young-children-untold-damage

 

Cx

Edited by catma
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My SIP phoned today and said there was a consultation taking place this summer I am assuming it is this one - but one thing she said was her job and the LA's responsibility for any input could be going - we would have to decide what help we want to buy in for our groups and that there would be a budget for this - what she couldn't say was how much the budget was and how it was apportioned. She also said that it was proposed that Ofsted were put in place as our advisory body rather than LA

 

I don't believe I have ever moaned about my SIP, EYAT call them what you will, they have been helpful in focusing my thoughts and actions for my group, I may not like ~"giving up" a whole morning to them, but really they have wanted to be there to help. I am not saying Ofsted couldn't - but I wouldn't expect there to be the one to one help we have been used to ion the past. If many of us all complained of the same difficulties are they not more likely to hold an area seminar miles away from where we may work for lots of groups to attend rather than offer us one to one support

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Ofsted will become the sole arbiter of quality, but "more affordable child care" does imply some role for the LA but only for settings causing concern, ie requires improvement or inadequate ofsted judgements. Currently it would seem that ofsted are indicating they couldn't take on a support role as well as an inspecting remit and given they can't find enough inspectors for all the complaint driven inspections I'd be very surprised if they did!

 

The consultations really are important to respond to. Don't think this won't affect me because it will!

 

And I'm still waiting to hear if I've got a job too.

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My thoughts are if LAs are to remove support for those settings with a judgement that deems them not needing it...

 

and Ofsted are unable to give the support..plus PLA who used to support before LAs took it on have all but vanished in most areas..

 

and many could not afford to pay for support, hard enough to stay open now, added cost on current income is getting very high with so many hidden payments being added to the current running costs .

 

How many of these settings could end up dropping in standards and quality?...

 

A long break between inspections because one was good could mean that what they are trying to achieve by doing this, actually causes more settings to have a lower quality of care which goes unnoticed until an inspection highlights it.

 

sorry this is a bit off topic ... but I do agree consultations are important.. I do respond even if no longer working in childcare...thinking of those future generations of children that have to cope with all this mucking about of what was a good model..

Edited by Inge
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I am extremely worried about this new proposal and urge people to respond. My personal view is that we shouldn't be doing any of this until the age of 6 anyway, but if we have to, then there should be something like a progress check when a child turns the age of 5, which is the statutory school age. That means that every child would be given a fair progress check and summer born children will not be disadvantaged because of their age. It should be something similar to the two year old progress check. When I was recently visiting kindergartens in Hungary I saw that they have a maturity assessment aged 6 to ascertain whether they are developmentally equipped to cope with the formality and fast pace of primary school. If they are not "ready" they stay in kindergarten for a further year...something parents welcome!!!!

But that is by the by...I will be recommending a progress check following a child's 5th birthday - the statutory starting point!!!!!

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Prefer the end of the year in which they turn 5, ie july for all as after a 5th birthday would mean tests every term for schools and no data on some children whilst having some for the older ones...

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In our area all schools have nursery classes, so our school would be 'better off' if our children did not learn much in nursery so that we had a low baseline on the reception tests and were able to show progress from reception to Y6. This would make working in nursery souls destroying. Also, speaking and listening skills are the best predictor of later academic achievements, not counting on screen cats...

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This is indeed very worrying for several reasons. We have just spent a lot of time and money on revamping EYFS and the Profile, changing for what seemed no reason.

 

Also, if there was a baseline test as children entered the reception class (to enable schools to ascertain the predicted levels for year 6) there would presumably need another test as they left reception to find out levels of progress as that is what Ofsted focuses on.

 

These tests would not, I feel, be able to measure PSE, Physicality or Creative areas (as present EYFSP does) and would therefore be measuring Maths, Literacy, possibly Science/Computing and therefore would not be giving a true picture of the child. Is that not deemed important any more?

 

If a school is to use the progress between baseline test result and KS1/KS2 SATs (which incidentally I thought were on the way out) I would think it would be in the interests of the school to mark low, very low!

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And another thing!!

 

We already do baseline assessment (not tests) as children come in, in conjunction with the DMs provided by pre school (and parents views) based on the statutory EYFS 'curriculum'. We have been asking for EYFSP to be linked to KS1 for many years and have been told this is not the point of Early Years. As far as I am aware having lived through 4 Ofsted inspections they are aware of the importance of R/KS1 already!

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It's not Ofsted, it's the DfE.

Purpose: To provide a national baseline for children starting in school in reception; to judge the quality of pre school provision nationally; to dismantle the EYFS and remove reception from the phase; Take your pick!

Cx

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Basically the government have to cough up money for education and they need to have a way to show that they are 'getting their money's worth'. But more importantly, education is a big issue when it comes to elections, so all parties want to claim that they are able to 'drive up standards' across the board by making improvements to the system we currently have.

 

How are they going to evaluate that though? Children are put onto the production line at 5 years old but the tangible results don't happen until they take their exams at 16. Sats were created so that they had some measure in between times but the problem with those are that there is too long a time frame from the start of school to when they get any idea of whether the changes have been effective. How can you claim that you've driven up standards if there is no way to measure it before the next General Election?

Call me a cynic but these tests are there purely so that the government can use them in their election campaigns to show how wonderful their education system is now that they've tinkered with it.

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What a backward step! It is only been 2 years since I persuaded my head to let me stop doing pips (a computer based baseline assessment) at the beginning and end of the year in reception which is essentially what is now being recommended again. I know schools that are still using it!! The pips score generated a predicted KS1 sats grade which my head liked. Previous to teaching in reception I taught in year 2 and every year the predicted sats score from pips was way out.

We already do a baseline against DM when children arrive in reception and the same at the end of the year all by observation rather than by 'testing'

Deb

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I used PIPS many years ago in my first EYFS leader's post but ditched it after a couple of years (it took that long to persuade my HT it wasn't telling me as much as I'd learn at the end of a half term of observational assessment, which was how long it took to get through 30 kids on the one solitary, slow PC we had at the time). Going back to that kind of assessment would be a HUGE backward step :-(

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  • 1 month later...

Where does that leave early years settings? I already find my local school do their own baseline in Sept which comes out lower than the information we send, where the child has been happy, confident and independent. Then to be put in a new environment and tested- of course they will score low but is that truly fair. I know from the school that parents are not told they child is developing lower than what we say- we are professionals who carry a wealth of knowledge and skilsl, why are we not trusted to make judgements after all we do at the age of 2!

 

I understand teachers need a starting point as do we in settings but to be formally tested is wrong. Why can they not use the information we collate and send to schools or is it the same old well its only preschool!!! (Blood boiling!!!!) :angry:

I agree with Catma that maybe the profile should be done at the end of the year in which they turn five.

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FRIDAY 11th OCTOBER is the closing date for this important consultation. It has real implications for everyone in the EYFS phase of education. Please don't ignore this just because it seems to be about school!!

Cx

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  • 1 month later...

This important consultation ends on Friday.

https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1920&external=no&menu=1

http://juliangrenier.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-dfes-plans-for-assessment-are-grave.html

 

Please, please don't ignore it.

The implications across the EYFS sector are severe. This is an attack on young children and will effectively signal the start of the removal of Reception children from the EYFS. All the ground that has been made in creating a single sector which has agreed approaches for ALL children will start to be eroded.

Mandatory national tests for 4 year olds anyone???

 

Cx

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