Exams and Assessment

What are the next steps for primary assessment?

Could it be the calm after the storm? 2016 was not an easy year for assessment co-ordinators and their schools. Now Justine Greening offers reassurance that 2017 will be better. But will it? Suzanne O’Connell reports



A smooth transition into the early years

Pupils’ transition into the early years of primary school can be daunting. Drawing on practice she has seen across the country, Fiona Aubrey-Smith offers some practical advice and ideas to help ensure your youngest pupils get the best possible welcome


SATs: The aftermath

The 2016 SATs might be behind us, but headteachers are still angry about what the majority see as having been a testing fiasco. With a new school year beginning, heads reflect and speculate about what should happen in 2017


Assessment chaos: From Baseline to SATs

It has been quite a year for assessment. With a backdrop of parent protests, leaks and anxiety over changing standards, the SATs have been particularly chaotic. On top of this, the long planned introduction of the Reception Baseline was suddenly axed after ministers admitted it couldn’t work. ...


Assessment without levels: Keep it simple

Assessment without levels has caused stress and anxiety for many primary schools, but a simple, stripped down approach that minimises paperwork and focuses on conversations could provide an answer to the assessment challenge. Colin McLean explains



Assessment: Life after levels for SEN pupils

A recent day of discussions between school leaders from across England focused on the impact that the move to assessment without levels might have on vulnerable pupils, especially those with SEN. Daniel Sobel reports on some of the challenges, solutions and conclusions


What does effective assessment look like?

Headteacher Sam Hunter reports from an assessment without levels expert panel discussion featuring four primary leaders and focusing on the key question of what makes for effective assessment practice



Assessment levels: A hard habit to break...

The DfE’s Commission on Assessment without Levels makes it clear – levels needed to go. However, replacing them isn’t proving to be easy. Suzanne O’Connell looks at the messages from the report and the difficulties schools are facing


What ingredients make for an effective test?

What elements make for an effective and reliable assessment? Test developer Catherine Kirkup outlines the key criteria that primary schools should consider when selecting their approaches to pupil assessment


Life after Levels: Stepping Stones

Schools have had to come up with their own solutions to life after levels. Continuing our case study articles, Jo Dormer and Joe Piatczanyn describe the Stepping Stones method that their school has devised


A discussion about levels

A recent roundtable discussion brought together school leaders from both the primary and secondary phases to discuss what works in a world without national curriculum levels. Graham Cooper was there


Life after Levels: FAQs

How have schools responded to the removal of national curriculum levels? Andrew Lifford answers some of the most common questions from school leaders on assessing without using levels


Assessment: Giving pupils the power

Headteacher Rachel Wells explains how her staff team have developed and implemented a new approach to assessment, encouraging pupils to play an active role in analysing their own progress, achievement and next steps for learning


Life after Levels: The next steps

Schools need to take the bull by the horns when planning for life after national curriculum levels. Mick Walker advises on some key next steps


Life after Levels: The key challenges

There are four very good reasons for removing national curriculum levels and five challenges facing us as we move forward. Chris Quigley offers a six-step route map to assessment reform



Now that levels have gone...

Former headteacher John Viner is working with schools to help them get to grips with life after the removal of levels.


Choosing your Baseline Assessment

Schools are being urged to sign up for one of the new Reception Baseline Assessment schemes before September. Katharine Bailey offers a few criteria to consider when making your decision


The principles of effective assessment

The NFER has worked with hundreds of schools and thousands of pupils to develop its Reception Baseline Assessment. Catherine Kirkup and Marian Sainsbury look at some of the principles of effective assessment that have emerged


NFER Research Insights 2015

Headteacher Update's Research Insights articles, published in conjunction with the NFER, offer in-depth, evidence based advice, guidance and best practice covering a wide range of areas relevant to primary school leadership and education. Download the latest articles from 2015 and 2014 for free ...


Helping pupils to handle anxiety and stress

The pressure that our primary school children can face as they grow-up is increasingly being recognised as something that schools must play a part in tackling. Sal McKeown reports from two schools in Coventry which are using different approaches.


Ensuring consistent assessment approaches

Faced with an inconsistent approach to assessment strategies, tests and tracking methods across the school, deputy headteacher Amelia Nelson set out to turn things around. She explains how.

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