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Tracking progress-age related expectations

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To get a consensus amongst staff about what is expected on entry we are saying they should be:


Nursery at baseline in September are 30-50 E


Reception at baseline are 40-60 E


We are then thinking about how many steps of progress is typical progress.




However where should children who start in January and stay for 5 terms be when they start?

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If you're using the Development Matters age-bands, then I would argue that we should expect them to be (and hope them to be!) in the age-band that matches their chronological age. Disregarding their actual age and deciding that, for example 30-50 or 40-60 emerging is where they 'should' be, seems to make nonsense of the age-bands and refinements.

However, I know reception classes have to do just this! :(

I'm worried about nursery having to do the same, though- but in your case here, it looks like you'd expect a child of 36 months starting in January to be 30-50 developing.

Is there a reason you've set a nursery baseline expectation? A child of 36 months starting at nursery could be 22-36 secure?

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We are feeding into 4 different schools this year and of the 4 visiting reception teachers 3 have said they take them back to 30-50m, I know why they do this but it makes me quite cross, I understand their PSED can take a bit of a knock over the 6 weeks and with the change in environment and adults etc...but some of these children are 56/57m and are working well within the 40-60+ band and even above in some areas :-(

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I completely agree with you and hate the way we are having to assess. Development matters works as a teaching document and guide as to where children are, but it all goes a bit wrong when we are using it for data purposes.


The reason we are setting an 'expected level' is to guide staff so there is consistency. Because the statements are subjective and open to interpretation we have had people saying children are operating at all different levels from 30-50 to 40-60.


We are expected to collect this information periodically at data drops and this year, because people have worked purely from their interpretations of statements and age bands, we have had what looks like a very mixed up picture because of our numbers/data. Then when someone external comes in and wants us to talk to this 'data'...it have proved a difficult job. Despite them being happy with what they saw in the classrooms, the numbers didn't show enough progress so here we are trying to make sense of it.


The only way forward (apart from mounting a protest about the state of EYFS assessment) is to give people these expected levels.



Basically, if someone comes in to look at your progress they want it represented in numbers so we are trying to make this work. Does that make sense? If anyone can show me another way then please, please, please let me know!

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Hi Frithmanor. It sounds to me like you need to have a reaaly good internal moderation system in place to avoid such wide variations in judgement. This would enable you to discuss and agree what looks typical for a child at eg 3 years.From there I would look at cross moderation between schools, and if posible with EY providers in your area or that feed your school.

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Yes.. moderation...we do moderate internally and externally. But I think there is a wide variety of interpretation amongst people when you are making judgments within 30-50 and 40-60 months.


For example the 30-50 month statement for writing:


• Sometimes gives meaning to marks as they draw and paint.

• Ascribes meanings to marks that they see in different places.


This is very open and we are asking people to make a judgement as to whether a child is 30-50 Emerging, Developing or Secure. The interpretation of this is very inconsistent.


This year we are going to create our own exemplification materials for 30-50 and 40-60 age bands for writing to show how we make our judgement within school. But that is writing.


But, maybe this is just me, I think with 17 areas of learning, overlapping age bands and refinements means this is not straight forward.


We have a large staff and 150 children. So much of what we assess is not tangible and is down to practitioners knowledge and whilst I have absolute confidence that, on the ground, staff know their children and are able to support and extend them, when it comes to making a judgement with a number then it can be like making a stab in the dark.


I love development matters as a guide for teaching but I think what is happening now, with the pressure for data to show that our children are making progress, we are being forced to put it into boxes to create numbers.


I would like to stop assessing using age bands and having to give them a number at each assessment point to prove they are on track. To help children make progress by identifying if children are in need of support, working at expected levels or need extending and plan for that. You do not need numbers to do that.





If you have an effective way to moderate, please let me know.

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I so agree; and I really urge you to stand up for what you believe in! Using the age-bands as a guide and using the refinements of emerging, developing and secure (for the age-bands alone- absolutely not for each statement) I think is the best way of using Development Matters. You can show progress of the children adequately through this method, and it prevents everyone getting so hung up on the statements as a means of assessment and deciding which of them are the next steps for each child. The best ammunition you have against the overuse of statements for assessment is Nancy Stewart's (the author of Dev Matters)own article here, and the statement at the bottom of each page of Dev Matters telling us that they are not a ticklist. :1b

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