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Assessment without Levels Parent Information

In September 2015, the Government made a huge change to the way that children in school are assessed. This was to tie in with the new National Curriculum that started to be used in 2014. This has resulted in a new way of thinking for schools and assessment now looks quite different from how it has for the past 20 years.

Previously, teachers will have given you a level, or sub-level, to represent your child’s attainment, for example ‘2B’ or ‘3A’. These levels have now gone.
The Department for Education (DfE) want to avoid what has been termed ‘The Level Race’ where children have moved through the old National Curriculum levels quickly to achieve higher attainment, for example, under the old levels system, a child who was exceeding might have moved into the next level. This was based on a “best fit” model and meant that pupils could still have gaps in their knowledge and understanding.

The DfE wants to prevent this, ensuring that children have a breadth and depth of knowledge at each national curriculum level and have more opportunities to develop their using and applying skills. Only exceptional children will begin working towards the end of year expectations for the year above. Similarly, children who are unlikely to be emerging at the end of the year may work towards the expectations from the year below.

The National expectation is that by the end of the academic year, the majority of the children should be assessed as being Expected or above within their year group.


National Curriculum

The subjects within the National Curriculum have changed very little. However, the content and objectives have been changed and moved around, for example, some objectives that were previously in the Year 3 curriculum are now to be taught in Year 2. This may result in a child who was previously achieving ‘above national expectations’ now working within ‘Age Related Expectations’. This is not a reflection on a child’s progress or the teaching in our school. There is no correlation between the old assessment system and the new curriculum.


Assessment at Adel St John the Baptist

The Government decided that schools should set up their own way of assessing pupils. Therefore, at Adel St John we researched, trialled and implemented an assessment package called ‘Cornerstones.’ Using Age Related Expectations to measure children’s attainment, this online assessment package links directly to our creative curriculum and allows us to ensure children gain a breadth of understanding while identifying any gaps in their learning.


Reporting to parents

When we have conversations with you about your child’s progress you won’t be given an actual definitive position of where they are on this scale. Instead there will be a detailed discussion about your child’s strengths and their targets. You will also be told whether your child is on track to meet their end of year Age Related Expectation:

Emerging— yet to be secure in the end of year expectations.

Expectedsecure in the majority of the end of year expectations.

Exceedingsecure in all the end of year expectations and is able to use and apply their knowledge and skills confidently.

We have changed how we describe your child’s progress and achievement, but we continue to:

  • set challenging targets and plan according to your child’s need.
  • assess and review using both formative and summative assessment.
  • track progress and respond appropriately.
  • develop a long term ‘picture’ of how your child is developing
    across time. 

What can I do to help my child?

There is a great deal parents can do to help their children. Reading, spellings and practising mental maths skills such as times tables and number bonds is vital. We want to work with you to support your child’s learning, so part of the discussion at parents evening consultations will be about your child’s targets. 


Statutory Assessments

Children at the end of each Key Stage (in Year 2 and Year 6) are still required to undertake the statutory assessments (SATs).
Attainment in Year 6 will be measured by a scaled score, where 100 represents the national standard. The exact standard of each test will not be available from the DfE until after the first tests have taken place in summer 2016, following a standard-setting exercise in a range of schools. There will no longer be extension papers (eg Level 6) but a range of challenges will be included in all papers.

If your child is in Year 2 or Year 6 you will receive further information about SATs in the form of a leaflet or meeting with the class teacher.


Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The EYFS (for children in Reception) has not changed and still follows Development Matters. By the end of EYFS, children are expected to reach their Early Learning Goals. However, there is now a Baseline Assessment that the Government has introduced and that all children in Reception undertake upon entry. It does not include any tasks or tests and does not disrupt settling in routines. Instead, as part of their everyday practice, teachers build their knowledge of each child through their observations, interactions and every day activities. They use this professional knowledge to make a series of judgements about each child based on a clear set of assessment criteria.


Phonics Screening Checks

The Phonics Screening Check for children in Year 1 remains the same as in previous years. Children who do not meet the required standard in this check are required to take the screening again in Year 2.


Further information

Information regarding Assessment without Levels can be found at