Introduction to our new Curriculum for Wales Assessment Frameworks

A webinar introducing schools in Wales to our new assessment frameworks for the new Curriculum for Wales 2022. We have use the Statements of What Matters and the Descriptions of Learning to create assessment frameworks to show small steps of progress for pupils with ALN. Our frameworks cater for pupils working within the Progression Steps and pupils who are working below Progression Step 1.

The new curriculum for Wales has removed levels, replacing them with Progression Steps. There are 5 Progression Steps covering typical development from 3 years to 16 years. The Curriculum for Wales identifies success criteria to help learners achieve the descriptions for learning for each of the five Progression Steps.

One of the concepts that the Curriculum for Wales had introduced is the Four Purposes. These should be the starting point and aspiration for schools’ curriculum design. Ultimately, the aim of a school’s curriculum is to support its learners to become:

  • ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
  • enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
  • ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
  • healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.
It is important that schools plan their curriculum and learning opportunities to support pupils with these Four Purposes. It is important that they take time to assess and reflect on how effective these opportunities have been and how they can be improved


In the Curriculum for Wales guidance, under Progression it says…

“Learners with additional learning needs (ALN) will progress at a rate individual to the learner and this may not correlate with the broad two-to-three-year progression step. Pace of progression should be evaluated by the professionals working with learners with ALN.”

Developing a Vision For Curriculum Design, Progression

The Government has acknowledged the pupils with ALN will progress at individual rates and that professionals should use their own professional judgement around the pace of progression. There is a lot of work involved in breaking down the Progression Steps and the descriptions of learning into the small steps that pupil with ALN make.


“The purpose of the descriptions of learning is to provide guidance on the pace of progression in order to support practitioners and inform curriculum design and learning and teaching. They are not a series of criteria to be directly assessed against, nor can they be met with single assessment tasks.”

Supporting Learner Progression: Assessment Guidance

This is really important.  Progression Step 1 covers 2 years of development. Pupils making typical levels of progress will not achieve the descriptions of learning till towards the end of that second year. Pupils will not be achieving them throughout the 2 years. They will not be working through them in order. They will be making progress towards all the descriptions of learning at the same time. It will take a typically developing child 2 years to meet these descriptions of learning. Although the child will not be achieving the descriptions of learning for 2 years, they will be showing progress in terms of engagement and understanding.

Teachers should not be planning towards individual descriptions of learning. This will not be effective or engaging. The descriptions of learning will not directly drive planning. A lesson or topic will touch on multiple descriptions of learning. It is spiral learning; pupils will be developing the skills over multiple topics to fully embed them.

“Assessment should focus on identifying each individual learner’s strengths, achievements, areas for improvement and, if relevant, any barriers to learning. This understanding should be used by the practitioner, in discussion with the learner, to ascertain the next steps required to move learning forward, including any additional challenge and support required.

This should be achieved by embedding assessment into day-to-day practice in a way that engages the learner and makes it indistinguishable from learning. This allows the practitioner to respond to the individual needs of the full range of learners within their classroom on an ongoing basis.”

Supporting Learner Progression: Assessment Guidance

The new Curriculum for Wales promotes individualised learning, being able to identify next steps and barriers to progress and how to support the pupil to make progress towards these. Embedding assessment means not doing lots of tests but assessing pupil progress through marking and observation in day-to-day learning opportunities designed to engage the pupils. It is important that professionals are able to identify where pupils are, their next steps and how to support the pupils to achieve those next steps. To do this effectively, a school needs to use a shared structure, language and understanding of assessment, next steps and how to support pupils.


B Squared’s New Assessment Frameworks

To meet the requirements of the new Curriculum for Wales, B Squared have created a number of assessment packages:

  • Routes to Progression
  • Welsh Progression Steps Core
  • Welsh Progression Steps Plus

When creating our new frameworks, we have had to make a number of decisions to support pupils with ALN. We felt it was important to adapt the Curriculum for Wales to suit pupils who make smaller steps of progress. We wanted to support schools by providing a framework that helps them identify the small steps and identify barriers to progress. Relevant assessment points are linked between subjects and areas of learning and experience to give a more holistic view and to reduce teacher workload.

When we develop our content, we have a limit of around 50 assessment points per level. 50 assessment points fill a single sheet of paper, working across multiple pages increases complexity. If a typically developing pupil is taking 2 years to progress through Progression Step 1, then a pupil with ALN could take 4 years or more. For Progression Step 2 where the pupil is learning to read, we would need to squeeze 3 years of progress for a typically developing pupil into 50 assessment points. For a pupil with ALN, this could be 6 years or more.

We split the Progression Steps into sub-levels. Each sub-level is the equivalent to a year of typical development. We call these levels our Welsh Progression Steps (WPS). Progression Step 1 is split into 1.1 and 1.2, Progression Step 2 is split into 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 and so on. You will find the same descriptions of learning on each level within the Progression Step, with the assessment points on each level showing small steps of achievement around and towards achieving the descriptions of learning. The description of learning is included on the highest level within the Progression Step so that professionals can mark the description of learning as being met. You will find this version of the description of learning has the ‘I can’ removed.


Pupils Working Below Progression Step 1

Progression Step 1 starts at the typical development level of a 3-year-old. At which point they already have a vocabulary of around 200 words. A lot of development has already been achieved.

Beneath Progression Step 1 is the Routes for Learning. This covers the development range from birth to around 18 months. Above Routes for Learning are the ABC Steps from the Routes to Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Competence. The Routes for Learning have been reviewed and will continue to be used, there is uncertainty about what will happen between the Routes for Learning and Progression Step 1.


There are 6 levels below Progression Step 1, split into 2 groups:

·         Non-subject specific – same develop range as Routes for Learning (Pre-Progression Steps 1 to 3)

·         Subject specific learning – same development range as the A B C steps (Pre-Progression Steps 4 to 6)

We felt that the split between subject and non-subject specific learning works well and lines up with the transition between the Routes for Learning and the ABC steps.

Pre-Progression Steps 1 to 3 are included in our Routes to Progression. Pre-Progression Steps 4 – 6 are included in the Welsh Progression Steps Core package.


Useful Links

Curriculum for Wales – B Squared Assessment Overview

Click here to download the Curriculum for Wales – B Squared Assessment Overview


Framework Comparison Chart for Wales

Click here to download the Framework Comparison Chart for Wales


Sample Pages

Click here to download the Sample Pages for the Curriculum for Wales


If you have any questions about this webinar, you can contact me via email – You can also book a FREE online meeting to discuss anything from this webinar. Use the link below to find a time and date that suits you…