Wednesday, 13 April 2011

National Curriculum and Key Stage Assessments Explained

From age 5 (year 1) to 16 (year 11) all pupils follow the national curriculum. Additionally, maintained schools must offer religious education, sex education, work-related learning and careers education for specified year groups. The national curriculum determines the content of what should be taught – statutory and non-statutory subjects/ areas of learning – and sets attainment targets for learning. The national curriculum also determines how performance will be assessed and reported.

But first a word about Key Stages. The national curriculum is divided into four key stages, which covers the statutory age ranges for school attendance.

Key stage 1 Key stage 2 Key stage 3 Key stage 4

Age 5-7 7-11 11-14 14-16

Year Group 1-2 3-6 7-9 10-11

Assessment is an integral part of everyday teaching and learning. However, by law, schools must assess pupils’ attainment at the end of Key Stages 1, 2 and 3.

Key Stage 1 consists of teacher assessment in speaking and listening, reading and writing, and mathematics and science. Assessments in reading, writing (including handwriting and spelling) and mathematics must take account of results from Key Stage 1 tasks and tests.

Key Stage 2 consists of national curriculum tests in English (reading, writing (including handwriting and spelling) and mathematics and teacher assessment in English, mathematics and science.

Key Stage 3 consists of teacher assessment only, in all national curriculum subjects. Schools have to submit results for English, maths and science.

At the end of Key Stage 4, pupils generally take public examinations, for example GCSEs. Many pupils also undertake vocational courses, foundation learning and apprenticeships.

For each national curriculum subject, there is a programme of study which sets out the subject knowledge, skills and understanding that pupils are expected to develop in each Key Stage. The programmes of study map out attainment targets, which are split into eight levels (1 to 8), plus a description of “exceptional performance” i.e. above level 8.

For GCSEs the range is from A* -G. Other examinations often have pass, merit and distinction.

At the end of each national curriculum Key Stage, pupils are expected to reach a certain level, although many will (and should) exceed it.

At the end of Key Stage 1 most pupils are expected to achieve level 2

At the end of Key Stage 2 most pupils are expected to achieve level 4

At the end of Key Stage 3 most pupils are expected to achieve levels 5 or 6

At the end of Key Stage 4 most pupils are expected to achieve 5 GCSEs A*-C (including English and mathematics)

Sometimes national curriculum levels are expressed in terms of points scores, using the following formula: points score = 6 X level plus 3. Thus Level 4, for example, has a points score of 27 (i.e. 6 x 4 + 3 = 27). Other equivalences are shown below:

Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Points 9 15 21 27 33 39 45 51

The National Curriculum standards have been designed so that most pupils will progress by approximately one level every two years, which is equivalent to 6 points.

As there are 6 terms in two years, each point represents one term’s progress for the median pupil.

Many schools have adapted this format by using national curriculum sub-levels with an equivalent points score. A common way of dividing the National Curriculum levels is the use of an a, b, c indicator – where

a – represents a strong level

b – represents a sound/ secure level

c – represents a weak level

Level Sub-levels
c b a
1 7 9 11
2 13 15 17
3 19 21 23
4 25 27 29
5 31 33 35
6 37 39 41
7 43 45 47
8 49 51 53

Whilst the use of sub-level can be helpful in identifying pupil support requirements and tracking progress, caution should be used as the National Curriculum level was designed to indicate attainment at the end of a key stage – a sublevel only gives an indication of the certainty of this achievement.

National Curriculum Review 2011

In January 2011 Michael Gove announced a major review of the National Curriculum in England.

The review will be led by the Department, supported by an advisory committee and expert panel chaired by Tim Oates made up of top teachers, academics and business representatives.

The review will

Replace the current substandard curriculum with one based on the best school systems in the world, providing a world-class resource for teachers and children

Consider what subjects should be compulsory at what age

Consider what children should be taught in the main subjects at what age.

The Consultation will finish tomorrow Thursday 14th April! I completed mine today

Key Stage 2 review

Lord Bew is leading a small review panel consisting of two education experts, a number of primary headteachers and one secondary school head. The panel will publish its final report by June 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment