Ok – let me honest straight from the start…I am not en expert on EYFS. I have taught briefly in Reception doing PPA cover as a younger teacher, but found it akin to herding cats whilst trying to teach at the same time. Consequently, I am in awe of any highly skilled early years teacher who I am privileged enough to see or observe.
So, why am I blogging about EYFS? Well, I am, but I’m not.
I recently went to a national conference regarding life after levels, or as Osiris would have it, “Effective primary Assessment of Levels”. UPshots of this in greater detail can be read on @michaelt1979 and @MooreLynne1′ blogs…Here and here.
What I’d like to pinpoint in a short sharp way is my concern over Assessment in the Early Years and the consideration or lack of it onwards…
So – what exactly is my concern? Annabel Burns took to the stage to outline the DFE’s position. we will see a renewed focus on PROGRESSION, improvement of moderation (somehow) to ensure teacher assessment is more consistent. These moderators will need training – because some of the moderators I’ve met have been woefully poor. They will also need paying if they are to undertake more moderation – where will the money come from for this? No answer.
We all know that there will be a short reception baseline task…like it or not and I suspect it will look like the old Pips from years ago.(Yes, I am that old) It will be teacher administered (more training anyone? That Kerching you hear is the £ signs in the providers’ eyes). Anyone else spot the difficulties inherent of this being done in first couple of weeks of school, both in terms of admin and impact on children who may not have settled yet?
There will be a study in Autumn 14 to help understand how it will impact on schools…selected schools. It wasn’t clear when the findings would be published.
The STA will shortly announce the criteria that the Reception baselines will have to meet…anyone seen this yet?
Sept 2015 – Schools will be able to choose from a range of providers – probably about 5…(yes, you’re hearing that KERCHING sound again aren’t you) Anyone spot the issues with having variety of providers? Thought you might! Ms Burns made it clear that in the 2015 cohort if one or more of the providers didn’t come up to requirements or if it was felt that they weren’t as good as the others then they would be dropped from the choices for schools. Which all makes it ok…apart from the fact that if you have used one of those providers and we are meant to be using this to measure progress through to Year 6 – where does that leave us in terms of confidence on the results and our suppositions? Hmm, quite.
You will be pleased to know that “the assessment burden” will be reduced when teachers will no longer be required to carry out and submit data on the EYFS Profile…phew…or…does this just mean that the baseline test – sorry, task, will be the sole measure to assess progress for children who start reception in 2016. REALLY? THE SOLE MEASURE?
The most interesting part was the questioning of Ms Burns who looked like she had been hung out to dry by the DFE when faced with several thousand bemused and concerned people. Michael Tidd gallantly rephrased a few q’s so she could answer them, but also corrected her on a couple of points…the most interesting q was raised by another speaker at the conference Bruce Waeland – follow him on Twitter @htbruce.
“Is there any value in spending hours putting an assessment system together without promised performance descriptors?” No answer worth expanding on from Ms Burns.
Anyhow – I’m really uncomfortable with the idea that my 4 year old and thousands of others will take a test/task/observation in first week or two of school and the DFE think that this alone will “be an accurate performance indicator for KS1 and probably KS2” As @superstylynne put it – “magic fairy dust anyone?”
So – to make it short Assessment with DFE terms will be a straight line graph from Rec to Y6 and beyond…apparently, the line will be the average child”…No, no it won’t because statistically that does not make sense! It will be the level at which a child should be expected to perform at for a given age if we take learning in all its’ forms to be linear. Let’s not explore that right now.
What’s the answer? Don’t honestly know, but it is something we need to get right and collaboration seems the best way to do that – Any ideas?
Let me know.