KS2 Assessment 2013: a rundown

Disclaimer: This post is based on a combination of my own knowledge and experience of KS2 assessment and moderation as well as local authority assessment briefings I’ve attended. However, for the final word you should always refer back to the good old DfE.

The key stage 2 assessment arrangements are quite different this year. In fact, some big changes were confirmed just this week (and indeed some points still remain unclear), which is quite late in my opinion, but then that’s another post…

Here’s a brief summary of what I consider to be the pertinent points:

  • All writing levels will be completely teacher assessment driven. Last year there was the option of having teacher assessment (and marking the writing SATs tasks internally, which informed but didn’t dictate final levels) or having the writing SATs marked externally and getting the level that way. There are no SATs writing tasks this year. Local authorities have to moderate 25% of their schools’ writing. If you are one of the chosen 25%, as my school was last year, they are not allowed to give you more than two weeks notice that they are coming in. At the moment, moderation teams are there to moderate writing from levels 3-5, but there’s no word on levels 2 or 6 yet.
  • The focus of the teacher assessed writing should be style and composition – what that means specifically in terms of weighting when levelling is not clear, but new exemplification materials and criteria are to be published I am told – and that’s because spelling, punctuation and grammar will be assessed separately, which brings me to…
  • The SPaG test. All year 6 children will take this new test. For a long time, I have been wondering what percentage of the overall writing level this would account for, but this week we were told that it will not be included in the calculation of levels this year. It will be reported at school level only. Notice the ‘this year’ – next year could be a whole different, sad story. The results of the SPaG test will be delivered online, not in hard copies.
  • The combined English level is no more. The 2013 floor standards are for 60% of children to achieve level 4 in reading, writing and maths, not English and maths. That means that in the past, there may have been children who, for example, were level 3 writers, but their overall English level was brought up to a 4 because their reading was much stronger. This is not the case any more, reading and writing will be judged separately and both need to be level 4 in terms of floor targets.
  • There is no science sampling this year, but will take place on a biannual basis from next year onwards.
  • Mark schemes will no longer be delivered with papers, but will instead be available to download after the test period, which is five days after the date of the test.
  • If a child is absent, they have up to five days to complete the test. Apparently this came in last year. They must be kept separate from the rest of the cohort upon their return and you must notify the NCA of this too.
  • Pupils who take level 6 tests will need to do so in a 2B pencil or black pen. Bit bizarre, but true.
  • There is, of course, a lot more to be said on all of this, but for me those are the bits that have really stuck out so far. I very much hope that any further clarification that is still needed is not too far behind, because time is a-ticking…

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    • Thanks Claire, this is a really useful overview. I didn’t know about the black pen for L6 – or the fact SPaG is not going to be included in overall level, so glad to have read this 🙂

    • Yes, thanks for this, I found it a really useful summary too. Look forward to any future thoughts you have on this. Keep up the good work, your blog is really useful.

    • We were told the 2b pencil or black pen is for the spag test and not just for level 6 but for all, this is because they will be marked by computer.

    • The black pen is used because the computers will scan and mark l6 sats as the computers cannot pickup HB Pencils ( Ordinary school pencils)as the graphite is not dark enough to scan.

    • Hi,
      I have read your article with interest. Did you know the threshold for the Spag test KS2 2013, published today, is 50% higher than the threshold for maths and reading. The threshold L4 for reading is 19 out of 50. The threshold for SPAG is 44 out of 70. The weighting for spelling has increased from 6% to 20% with this new test.

      All our children did really well only 98% were over 30 out of 50, however the poor spellers have been severely penalised.

      The two issues of concern are the emphasis on spelling and that pupils can no longer make up marks by combining reading and writing.And, given that nationally writing is around 8% bellow reading writing should have a lover L4 threshold than reading and maths.

      Very depressing really for teachers and pupils. I am sickened that education has become the apparent hobby and obsession of MG.


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