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Primary Computing Scheme – 10 ways our new version could help your school.

 

Primary Computing Scheme Cover-3As the beginning of the 2017/18 school fast approaches, Herts for Learning is happy to be releasing its newest version of our popular Primary Computing Scheme. First launched in 2011, the scheme has evolved and developed over the years and the new version 6 offers more support than ever before for teachers delivering the 2014 national curriculum computing programme of study. It is open to any school or setting (we have users from different parts of the UK and abroad.)  I thought I would use this blog to explain what the scheme offers and point out 10 things which we believe make version 6 of the scheme both extremely useful for schools and great value for money.
Continue reading “Primary Computing Scheme – 10 ways our new version could help your school.”

To Sat or Not to Sat?

With the deadline for registering pupils for the KS2 tests on NCA Tools fast approaching (17th March), there is one particular question that I have been asked quite frequently in recent days: Is it better for me to enter my child with (insert description of a particular set of Special Educational Needs and/or Disability here) for the SATs or to disapply them?
Continue reading “To Sat or Not to Sat?”

KS2 Performance Tables (with an added surprise)

Ben Fuller, Lead Assessment Adviser at Herts for Learning

Yesterday saw the release of the KS2 Performance Tables (based on validated data). You can find the figures for any school in England here.

This means that anyone can look up your school and see inspiring data such as this:

progress-chart

To the casual glancer, this chart might appear to suggest that this particular school has achieved progress scores somewhere around the median. But beware, that middle section covers around 60% of schools, so what the image above actually shows is data that could be anywhere between the 21st and 80th percentiles.

The greater surprise, though, in exploring the validated data is that an unexpected  methodological change has taken place since the unvalidated data appeared in RAISEonline. This change applies to one very specific group of pupils – those pupils who were entered into the tests (reading and maths) and who failed to score enough marks to be awarded a scaled score.

In the unvalidated data, these children were excluded from the progress data (but included in attainment). (However, where children were not entered into the test because they were working below the standard of the test, their Pre-Key Stage standard teacher assessment was used instead and those children were included in the progress measure.  This seemed counter-intuitive, in terms of setting up a strange incentive for schools to enter children into a test in which they clearly were unable to achieve.)

Here’s the change: now those children have been included – provided the teacher assessment is one of the Pre Key Stage standards (PKG, PKF or PKE). If you had children who took the test and didn’t achieve a scaled score, and the teacher assessment was either PKG, PKF or PKE, your progress score will almost certainly have gone down.

If the teacher assessment for such children was HNM (Has Not Met the standard) then those children are still excluded from the measure – so the progress score should be unaffected. (This is a strange anomaly in the system. It would make more sense to me in such cases to award the same score to HNM that is used for PKG (79 points) rather than remove such a child from the progress measure altogether.)

So, if you had children who sat the KS2 tests but did not achieve a scaled score – check your validated data progress scores on the Performance Tables site. They might be different to the figures you have already been looking at in RAISEonline and Inspection Dashboard. (Both of these documents will be updated to the validated data at some point in the Spring.)

The intricacies of the KS2 progress model are very well explained in this excellent blog by James Pembroke (aka ‘sigplus’). Thanks James for bringing my attention to this methodological change via the medium of Twitter!

 

 

 

Is mastery just a passing fad?

 

Nicola Randall, Mathematics Teaching and Learning Adviser at Herts for Learning

Before I even start to tackle this question, I think it is helpful to clarify what we mean by ‘fad’ and the best way I could think of doing this was to consider some examples.

  • Leg warmers worn anywhere other than inside a dance studio: fad
  • No make-up selfies: fad
  • Replacing actual laughing with the word “LOL”: fad
  • Dressing as clowns and scaring people: fad

Continue reading “Is mastery just a passing fad?”

Unpicking KS2 Progress Scores ahead of Friday’s RAISEonline release

Ben Fuller is Lead Assessment Adviser at Herts for Learning

This Friday our eager anticipation will be over and the new-look RAISEonline reports, showing the 2016 unvalidated data for Key Stages 1 and 2, will be released. (Interactive reports available from Friday 21st October; Summary reports available from the following Tuesday.) Information has already been provided explaining the new-look tables and charts we are going to see.

ks2-progress-scores
Progress in RAISEonline

Continue reading “Unpicking KS2 Progress Scores ahead of Friday’s RAISEonline release”

KS2 SATs 2016 – Lessons Learned

Louise Racher is a Mathematics Adviser at HfL

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Confucius.

As many practitioners ponder over the “new” KS2 tests, this article picks out some of our “noble” reflections on what would make a pupil confident to tackle the KS2 test without fear and trepidation. Pupils who met Age Related Expectations in 2016 (just over half of year 6 pupils nationally) demonstrated that they had a flexibility which allowed them to manipulate not only the calculations to find solutions with ease within the constraints of the time limit – but also had a good grasp of problem solving strategies. This enabled them to access some complex multi-step problems using higher order thinking skills and demonstrate that they were able to reason with confidence. Continue reading “KS2 SATs 2016 – Lessons Learned”

Primary Computing Scheme, 2016/17

The new term and new school year has seen the release of the latest version of the Primary
Computing Scheme. Now in its fifth version, the scheme was first computing scheme logo design v1introduced in 2011 and has developed over time to stay in line with changes to the national curriculum and the Herts for Learning approach to assessment. Continue reading “Primary Computing Scheme, 2016/17”

BBC Micro:Bit in KS2?

The BBC Micro:Bit is the small (very small – smaller than a credit card) computer being Microbitdistributed to every year 7 child in the country as part of a BBC initiative to help get children coding. The Micro:Bit website tells us that this little computer is in fact 18 times faster than the original BBC Micro computers from the 80s, which some of us (not mentioning any age groups) will remember, probably fondly. Continue reading “BBC Micro:Bit in KS2?”

Primary assessment: reflection and feed-forward

Ben Fuller is Lead Assessment Adviser at Herts for Learning

Welcome to the inaugural blog post from the Herts for Learning Assessment team. The aim of this blog is to periodically bring you important updates, ideas and suggestions in the world of school assessment.

I will start with some brief reflections on 2015/16, which has certainly been an interesting year in statutory assessment, with new approaches to the ways in which pupil performance has been measured and evaluated at the ends of Key Stages 1, 2, 4 and 5, as well as ongoing developments in the debate around Reception baseline assessment.

In this post I will focus on the primary phase, where teachers in Years 2 and 6 this year had to contend with new tougher tests and a new system for teacher assessment, based on the Interim Teacher Assessment Frameworks (‘ITAFs’) – which use what has been referred to as a “secure fit” (rather than “best fit”) system.  (Personally, I prefer to call it a “must have everything” approach, as I think it an unusual use of the word ‘secure’).

20160831_104309 Continue reading “Primary assessment: reflection and feed-forward”

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