Attainment: expected standard
This year, the government changed the way that children are assessed. When looking at the data for 2016, it’s important to bear in mind the advice from the Department for Education: don’t compare 2016 with previous years:
Children sitting key stage 2 tests this year were the first to be taught and assessed under the new national curriculum. The expected standard has been raised and the accountability framework for schools has also changed. These changes mean that the expected standard this year is higher and not comparable with the expected standard used in previous year’s statistics. It would therefore be incorrect and misleading to make direct comparisons showing changes over time.
In 2016, 18% of our pupils achieved the expected standard in Reading, Writing and Maths, combined. This doesn’t compare well with the national figure of 53%. However, when you look at the proportions for each subject, you can see that they are more closely in line with national expectations in English subjects:
- Reading: 41% meeting expected standards (national: 66%)
- Writing: 71% meeting expected standards (national: 74%)
- Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling: 59% (national 72%)
It is in Maths where our data falls much shorter, meaning that the Reading, Writing and Maths, combined figure (above) is so low. 24% met expected standards (national: 70%). This is too low and we’re obviously very disappointed. However, it is encouraging (and a little frustrating!) to note that three pupils narrowly missed reaching the expected standard; if they had scored just two or three more marks, the proportion reaching expected standard would be 41% in Maths (and the combined figure of 18% would have risen, too).
There is another measure of attainment: average scaled scores. ‘Scaled scores’ are the scores given to each pupil based on the test score, where 100 is the expected national standard (80 is the lowest possible, 120 is the highest). At St James’ CE Primary, the scaled scores are close to the expected national standard:
- 98 is the average scaled score in Reading
- 99 is the average scaled score in Maths
- 100 is the average scaled score in Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
(There are no scaled scores available for Writing, which is teacher assessed instead of an actual test).
The Department for Education measures progress from Key Stage 1 (KS1) to Key Stage 2 (KS2). Expected progress is zero, with anything above that being better than expected and negative numbers showing less than expected progress.
- -3.4 average progress in Reading
- 3 average progress in Writing
- -3.1 average progress in Maths
We’re working hard to improve our attainment and progress for 2017. Some of the ways we’re doing this are to focus on better learning behaviour in the classrooms, so our children are concentrating more, meaning they are more able to use and apply their learning; and the re-organisation of classes so that teachers can work together more to share good practice. In addition, we have in place a thorough and comprehensive programme of professional development for our teachers covering all three areas.
Reading is the subject with the least progress. We obviously want this to be much higher and have embarked on various continuing professional development initiatives to improve the way we teach this. The Reading test was extremely hard this year – something widely reported and commented on in the media and social media. It also raises the importance of reading and discussing what is being read at home. Some of our children struggled for three main reasons:
- some children struggled to read the whole text– flagging up how important regular reading at home is to build up fluency.
- others struggled with how difficult the test was: hard texts to read (one was an extract from a newspaper, whose intended audience is adults, not 11 year olds!)– this flags up the importance of encouraging your child to read often, and to read a variety of texts, from fiction to non-fiction, comics to newspapers (but always prioritise reading for pleasure – far more important than a snapshot of reading skills that is the SATs test).
- third, the actual test questions were tough (testing children’s knowledge of quite tricky words and ability to infer ‘impressions’, a word used more than once in the test)– teachers always encourage parents and carers to be listening to their child read and talking about what is being read, even when a child is quite a fluent reader.
We’re also specifically working on Maths. Teachers have embarked on a long series of professional development sessions to improve their own teaching methods and make better use of planning resources so they are more up-to-date on the National Curriculum and recommendations from Maths Hubs (regional centres of expertise). You can help at home by making sure your child practises their times tables frequently: by the end of Year 4, children should know or be able to work out multiplication and division facts up to 12×12 within five seconds.