Primary pupils at play

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Main faculty pupils sit nationwide exams aged seven and 11

The outcomes of a brand new set of obligatory nationwide exams for youngsters within the last yr of major faculty in England are being revealed. However how are they completely different from the previous exams?

Why do we have now new nationwide exams?

The exams sat by major faculty kids this yr are new as a result of they’re the primary to check the brand new nationwide major curriculum.

This covers completely different materials from the previous one and has been taught in faculties solely since 2014.

Subsequently a completely new set of exams has been developed to measure attainment in three topics; maths, studying, and spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Writing is evaluated individually by instructor evaluation.

The exams are taken in Yr 2 and Yr 6, however solely the exams taken by 11-year-olds are marked externally.

Division for Schooling officers are eager to emphasize that these new exams usually are not similar to these taken in earlier years.


Are requirements increased?

The brand new major curriculum was drawn as much as be intentionally more durable than the previous one, and is described as a “knowledge-based curriculum”.

Subsequently, the exams themselves are more durable than they’ve been in recent times.

This was a aware choice by ministers in search of to boost requirements.

They argued that the requirements anticipated of pupils on the finish of major faculty had not been excessive sufficient.


How is success measured?

Beforehand, attainment on the finish of Key Stage 2 was measured in Ranges – Degree 4c being the anticipated commonplace for pupils of their last yr of major faculty.

Within the new exams, the anticipated commonplace is measured fully in another way.

The anticipated stage is ready at 100, however scores can vary between 80 and 120.

Successfully, something at 100 or over is a go and something below is a fail.

This yr, panels of academics set the precise mark on particular person check papers required to fulfill the anticipated commonplace.

That is primarily based on a sequence of key efficiency indicators inside the nationwide curriculum.


Are the outcomes comparable?

No. DfE officers describe it as a “yr zero”.

The exams are measuring pupils’ data of a brand new curriculum – even when they’ve been finding out it for less than two years.

And the usual is increased.

Nonetheless, it’s understood the anticipated commonplace is broadly equal to a Degree 4b.

Within the previous system, this meant kids working securely inside Degree four with its set of competencies.

Final yr, in maths 87% of pupils reached Degree four, in contrast with 77% of pupils reaching Degree 4b.

In studying, 89% reached Degree four and 80% reached Degree 4b.


What’s going to the outcomes appear like?

The DfE will launch a set of figures representing the nationwide common consequence.

It would present the proportion of pupils nationally working at 100 in studying, maths and spelling and grammar.

It would additionally give the proportion of pupils working at 100 in all three topics.

Taking into account the elevating of the anticipated requirements and the truth that pupils have been finding out this new curriculum for less than two years, a decrease share of pupils are prone to attain the all-important 100 mark than reached the previous Degree four.

The truth that academics and pupils have been grappling with a totally new set of exams, with fewer observe papers, is prone to imply pupils is not going to do as properly this yr as in later years.

There have additionally been complaints from academics and heads that a few of the questions on the papers have been more durable than anticipated.


What’s going to they be used for?

Finally, the outcomes of the exams might be used to carry faculties to account for the attainment of their pupils and the progress that they make.

Progress is measured by the space of journey between the exams taken on the finish of Key Stage 1, sat by seven-year-olds, and the outcomes of these taken at age 11.

Head academics have argued that this yr’s outcomes shouldn’t be used to measure faculties’ achievements due to the probably volatility within the system.

Ministers have rejected that, and Schooling Secretary Nicky Morgan has stated that solely a most of 1% extra faculties than final yr might be allowed to fall beneath the minimal requirements they need to meet earlier than intervention occurs.

In 2016, a faculty might be above the ground if at the very least 65% of pupils meet the anticipated commonplace in studying, writing and arithmetic or the college achieves ample progress scores in every of the “three Rs”.