Controversial primary writing assessment guidelines to continue next year

Teachers told to use same criteria for assessing key stage 1 and 2 pupils as last year – despite earlier promise of change following criticism

The criteria that teachers must use when assessing 7 and 11-year-old pupils next summer have been published today – and staff have been told they will be using the same “interim” guidelines as last year.

The guidelines – which have been criticised because they could unfairly disadvantage dyslexic pupils – set out what pupils must do in order to be assessed as working at the expected standard in reading, writing, maths and science.

When the frameworks were introduced last September, teachers were told they would be in place for one year only. The idea of a temporary framework did not impress headteachers, who condemned the constant change in the system.

Now the replacement of last year’s interim guidelines with another set of interim guidelines has not gone down well with everyone.

So we have another “interim” framework for next year because?

We need another year to work out the mess that was 2016?

— UK Education Matters (@SchoolDuggery) July 14, 2016

And Michael Tidd, deputy head of Edgewood Primary School in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, has pointed out they are identical to last year’s guidance, complete with errors.

Here is the correction the DfE had to make to the framework last year… and then the identical error in this year’s pic.twitter.com/xHnRa4FNCz

— Michael Tidd (@MichaelT1979) July 14, 2016

The criteria have been criticised for the use of a “secure fit” rather than a “best fit” system – meaning pupils have to meet all the criteria to be awarded a standard – something that could penalise thousands of bright dyslexic pupils who do not meet the spelling requirements.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union the NAHT, said: “It was a mistake to publish these uncorrected. The experience this year has made it quite clear that these frameworks are unusable in the current format.

“There is a window of opportunity to make a fresh start, however, and we will be putting this case to the government. But we must be clear: we cannot endure a repeat of this year.”

Today’s announcement comes after the NAHT criticised the frameworks as “delayed and obscure” and said schools’ results should not be published this year.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We understand that teachers have taken great effort to understand and prepare pupils for the new national curriculum assessments this year. Throughout that process we have been listening to the sector. It is important that we take the time to engage further with them in the coming months before confirming a permanent solution beyond 2016-17.”

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