Having recently attended Wiltshire Head Teachers’ briefings, I am now due to feedback to the Trowbridge Collaborative Deputy-Heads on the current state of play on assessment.
The first section of the briefings was given over to assessment with a presentation on how schools are approaching life without sub levels. The information delivered in the briefing really centered around 4 key points;
1. Schools decode how to assess pupils and track their progress in between key stages
2. Schools to have a robust system of tracking pupil progress in place.
3. Schools to be able to articulate what their assessment system is clearly and succinctly.
4. The driving principle is readiness for next stage of education
In truth, this caused a collective sense of frustration in the room. We all know and surely understand the challenge that faces schools. It seems to me that what we are really want is 2 fold. Firstly, we want an assessment tool to accurately gauge where the children are: a replacement for APP if you will. Secondly, we want a tool to track and analyse that data: something that would replace Wiltshire Tracker for many of us.
Interestingly, it emerged that advisers at local level have been clearly told by the DFE not to assist schools with the first challenge. It really is up to us to create our own systems. Some examples are available of course on the DFE website but the quality of these is questionable to me.
The AIR Index (Average Index Rating) linked to Wiltshire Super Tracker was introduced as a possible tool to track and analyse data but this is, without doubt, a complex and detailed system that would require real training needs.
So perhaps the most useful message is that, there ‘is no rush’! It is acceptable to maintain sub levels for this academic year as long as moves are afoot for September 2015. I would suggest that the closer schools work together and the more we share, the easier this 9 months of transition will be.