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Secondary Magazine - Issue 14

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 07 July 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 14 July 2008 by ncetm_administrator

Secondary Magazine

Welcome to issue 14 of the NCETM Secondary Magazine. Read on to discover our regular fortnightly features. Why not let us know what you want to see in forthcoming issues? If you have thoughts to share you can also add your comments on the portal.
End of Key Stage National Tests
As the Key Stage 3 test results arrive and the analysis begins, it’s worth taking a look at the story of these End of Key Stage National Tests (often called SATs).

National Curriculum Tests were introduced for all students aged seven, 11 and 14 in mathematics, English and science in 1995 (although tests for seven year olds were first tried in 1991 and in 1992 there were pilot assessments at KS3, including the Octagon Loops task). This had followed the introduction of national tests in 1993 that were marked by teachers and which had been boycotted in 1994. The original mathematics test was a one-hour paper with certain questions designated as non-calculator. In 1997, the non-calculator paper was introduced and in 1999, following a pilot in 1998, the mental tests were introduced. Tests as we now know them for Key Stage 3, have been in place since 1999.

The tests were described by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) as a “‘summative 'snapshot’ of attainment at the end of the key stage, based on key aspects of a subject which can readily be tested" and were not without controversy, with the NUT calling off a boycott shortly before the papers were taken. Gillian Shephard, then Secretary of State for Education, said that the National Tests “would continue the drive to raise standards" informing performance tables which would "shine a bright light into every classroom in the land”.

So have the tests raised standards? Are classrooms shining in the light of the national testing? A superficial glance of the KS3 results reveals that the percentage of Level 2, 3, 4 and 5s has fallen, while the percentage of students achieving the higher levels has increased along with the percentages of students achieving Level 5+ and Level 6+. Below we have included the results for the last 13 years which you can analyse and interpret in more depth yourself and draw your own conclusions (you might even decide to pose this as a problem for your Year 9s when their results arrive!)

KS3 Mathematics national results 1995 - 2007
  % L2 % L3 % L4 % L5 % L6 % L7 % L8 % L5+ % L6+
1995 2 12 21 24 23 9 1 58 33
1996 2 11 23 23 22 10 1 57 34
1997 1 10 22 23 25 11 1 60 37
1998 1 11 22 24 23 11 2 59 36
1999 1 9 21 24 24 12 2 62 38
2000 1 9 20 24 23 16 3 65 41
2001 1 8 18 24 23 17 3 66 43
2002 1 8 18 22 25 17 4 67 45
2003 1 7 16 22 26 19 5 71 49
2004 - 7 14 21 29 19 4 73 52
2005 1 6 14 21 28 20 5 74 53
2006 0 5 14 20 27 22 8 77 57
2007 0 6 14 20 27 21 8 76 56
2008 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

So how are we using these assessments? The Pupil Achievement Tracker (PAT) gives a question level analysis of the papers allowing us to see how each student, class and year group achieved in each of ten different areas of mathematics. This kind of analysis allows for the summative snapshot assessment to be used in a formative way, establishing areas which both students and teachers need to work on to develop a greater understanding. Although not used in every classroom, this analysis is used to great effect by many individual teachers and departments, as is evident in this thread from the TES staffroom area.

This type of detailed analysis should become easier this year as the question level data for KS3 mathematics will be available from the Key to Success website.

So what’s the future for End of Key Stage National Tests? What changes are ahead? How will the assessments look given the new KS3 Programme of Study? The statement below from the NAA gives some idea of what End of Key Stage National Tests may look like in 2011:

The revised Key Stage 3 programmes of study were published in September 2007, to be introduced to the year 7 intake of September 2008. Planning for Year 7 in 2008-9 should be informed by the guidance on the National Curriculum website http://curriculum.qca.org.uk/

The revised Programmes of study maintain the best of the past while offering increased opportunity to design learning that develops the wider skills for life and learning. The 2011 assessments will reflect this change in emphasis.

The first end of key stage assessments based on the new curriculum will be in May 2011. New test items are already under development, and like all new types of test items, will be thoroughly trialed and pre-tested to ensure that any changes to the style of questions are appropriate, and that national standards are maintained.

To help teachers get an insight into assessing the new programmes of study, past test questions will be annotated and available on the NAA website, beginning with science in July. English and mathematics examples will be available in September. The questions will illustrate item types that could feature in the 2011 assessments and will also demonstrate that the key concepts and key processes within the new programmes of study have been evolving in the tests for a number of years, and will continue to do so in and beyond 2011.

Please visit the NAA website:
http://www.naa.org.uk/ for further information and guidance on the 2011 end of key stage assessments.

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Secondary Focus - Portal Tour  
Visit the Secondary Magazine Archive

Browse... Issue 14
The Interview, Around the regions, An idea for the classroom, 5 things to do, The Diary, Focus on

Browse... PD Activities
Self-evaluation, Why do we teach mathematics?, Learning mathematics in my school, Pathways and options at KS3 to KS5, Mathematical Vocabulary, Revision, Group Work, C/D Borderline, Planning teaching and learning, Technology for learning

Focus on Sequences


The Diary - real issues in the life of a fictional Subject Leader


An idea for the classroom


5 things to do


The Interview - James Wenger


Around the regions - news, views and updates from the NCETM Regional Coordinators


Explore the Secondary Forum

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