Our evidence included:
- An executive summary
- The purpose of primary assessment and how well the current system meets this
- The advantages and disadvantages of assessing pupils at primary school
- How the most recent reforms have affected teaching and learning
- Logistics and delivery of the SATs
- Training and support needed for teachers and senior leaders to design and implement effective assessment systems
- Next Steps following the most recent reforms to primary assessment
- Recommendations to the Education Select Committee
Recommendations to the Education Committee
Support a period of stability with regard to primary assessment – schools have had mixed reactions to the removal of the national curriculum levels with regard to primary assessment, but the system as a whole has risen to the challenge of developing new assessment processes. Schools now need time to embed these systems, to train and develop their classroom staff and to support their pupils’ learning in the best possible way through the most appropriate assessment methods.
Request that the Standards and Testing Agency look at the accessibility of the SATs for all pupils - particularly in terms of the language used and the length of the tests. There are concerns that the content of the SATs would be more familiar to some pupils than others and could therefore risk certain pupils disengaging with the content and not performing as well as they are capable of doing. The length of time pupils have to spend on the tests was also an area of concern, as this may automatically put some pupils, who may have difficulty concentrating for extended periods of time, at a disadvantage. It would be helpful if the STA could look at these areas of concern when developing future SATs tests.
Help to disseminate – on a national level - some of the good practice already occurring within the system with regard to primary assessment - through this inquiry and its reporting processes. School leaders were quick to praise the way that colleagues throughout the system are coming together to discuss their different approaches to primary assessment and to moderate pupils’ work to ensure consistency. Whilst this is very much in line with the move to a school-led system, colleagues were conscious that messages about good practice may not be being shared beyond the confines of groups of schools such as multi-academy trusts and teaching school alliances. Finding out more about this good practice could be an area for the Committee to explore further during its oral evidence sessions, and to include in its report on this inquiry. This would help to disseminate the good practice already in place across the system.