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Assessing Year 2 Without Statutory Moderation

Jun 3rd 2024

As Year 6 colleagues prepare to submit their end of year data and June will see local authorities across the country conducting moderation visits, Y2 have faced their first year without statutory moderation being at the forefront of their minds. There has also been the comfort in knowing that those extra few weeks of teaching (end of June to mid-July) can help more pupils achieve the standard they are capable of. All of this aside though, Y2 will still need to make end of year judgements and schools will need to be confident that these judgments are sound for transition into KS2.

So what is assessment without statutory moderation?

Well, for some schools this has meant sticking to routines and conducting the optional SATs papers as produced by the STA. These were intended to be delivered as always throughout the month of May and covered the following:

  • English reading Paper 1: combined reading prompt and answer booklet
  • English reading Paper 2: reading booklet and reading answer booklet
  • Mathematics Paper 1: arithmetic
  • Mathematics Paper 2: reasoning
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 1: spelling
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 2: questions

The scaled score conversion table has been published online and can be accessed via this link 2024 key stage 1 scaled score conversion tables – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Alongside teacher judgments, these will give an overview of which areas of the KS1 programme of study pupils are confident and secure with. Of course, the benefit of these no longer being statutory ensure that teachers can use them to inform their future planning rather than as an indicator of future success at KS2. STA states:

The aim of the optional assessments is to give schools access to test papers to support in the measurement of pupil achievement and to help identify where their pupils need additional support as they transition into key stage 2 (KS2). The tests can also be used to inform teacher assessment judgements using the optional teacher assessment frameworks.

As many schools now deliver phonics through a validated SSP programme, reading data (particularly in terms of decoding skills) has become sharper and there is a clearer understanding of needs. Many programmes continue into Y2 and focus on fluency and comprehension skills. From working with teachers on making their reading judgements, we would suggest the following as some examples which can build a picture of what a child can do:

  • Books children are reading in schools and at home
  • Discussions during grouped reading sessions
  • Home/ school diaries
  • Follow-on tasks from reading sessions
  • Whole class reading discussions
  • Videos of children reading
  • English lessons e.g. predicting at the start of a text, writing in role as a character
  • Phonics screening check results
  • SSP programme data
  • Fluency assessments/running records

So that brings us on to writing and how to ensure that a child has reached the expected standard at the end of KS1. The Teacher Assessment Framework is still a useful tool to guide your judgements but no longer needs to be viewed as a tick sheet to complete (remember it is just a selection of statements from the national curriculum and does not cover everything). STA guidelines state:

From the academic year 2023 to 2024, there will be no statutory requirement for schools to carry out end of KS1 teacher assessment. Schools may wish to continue using teacher assessment to inform classroom practice.

The teacher assessment frameworks contain ‘pupil can’ statements for English reading, English writing, mathematics and science. Teachers can follow the guidance for each subject in the frameworks when making their judgements.

From our work in schools and experience as moderators we would say that the key to looking for an expected standard writer is to focus on the coherence of the writing.  This means reading it and understanding what makes it effective and coherent i.e. does everything flow within the writing and nothing throws you out as a reader. In order to write coherently at Y2, pupils will be demonstrating the following:

  • Use of subordination and coordination
  • Consistency in their use of tenses
  • A range of sentence types specific to the writing
  • Detail to engage the reader and to help them understand the writing e.g. through noun phrases and adverbs
  • Sequencing of sentences and ideas
  • Consistent use of punctuation

This fits with the national curriculum expectations that at the start of Y3 pupils should be able to:

…write down their ideas with a reasonable degree of accuracy and with good sentence punctuation.

There are also other elements to consider beyond this such as spelling – is it phonetically plausible for a child of that age? Have pupils made the correct GPC choices? National curriculum guidance on this says that:

At this stage, children’s spelling should be phonically plausible, even if not always correct. Misspellings of words that pupils have been taught to spell should be corrected; other misspelt words can be used as an opportunity to teach pupils about alternative ways of representing those sounds.

And what about handwriting? The requirements for joined handwriting formed part of the standard for a greater depth writer. However, the national curriculum statement suggests by the end of Y2 pupils should:

start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined

Those extra few weeks would be a perfect time to address these transcriptional skills following the additional notes and guidance:

Pupils should revise and practise correct letter formation frequently. They should be taught to write with a joined style as soon as they can form letters securely with the correct orientation.

Statutory moderation did give us a wealth of resources to support our judgments and allowed for professional dialogue to take place when talking about pupils work in English. Where clusters of schools have continued this model, staff have felt supported and had clear next steps to ensure pupils are on track with their writing.

STA resources are still available to lead this and we would suggest keeping these handy when looking at you own pupils’ writing Teacher assessment exemplification: KS1 English writing – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Schools can also work together to build their own bank of examples – this can be particularly useful when looking at a range of genres and what this should look like at KS1. This is something we have also produced (for both Pathways to Write users and non-users) which we be a handy addition to your assessment folder.

Whatever the outcomes of your judgments, don’t forget to celebrate the progress of your pupils and remember that for some, a strong finish (at whatever level) will hold them in good stead for the future and give the next teacher something to build on. If you require any further support with assessment or moderation, please contact us at online@theliteracycompany.co.uk

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