Recommendation 2 – Inclusive Assessment
The contents of this page are extracted from our Response to "Rochford Review: Final Report" that was first published in November 2016. The document can be downloaded in its entirety by clicking here.
For inclusion to work, it has to be more than just pupils with SEND being in the same school or the same class. Pupil’s with SEND need to be included in the same assessment process as much as possible.
With the 2014 National Curriculum there was a distinct lack of provision for pupils with SEND. The curriculum allowed schools to use an assessment system that suited their needs. Schools were free to choose or develop their own system. It quickly became assumed that as the curriculum was set out in end of year outcomes that schools were expected to assess in the same format. Some other approaches appeared, but local authorities still expected data in a prescribed format. This limited schools’ choices and went against the Government’s intentions. The conversation in mainstream primary schools is often about Age Related Expectations (ARE) and whether the pupil was below, at or above. Pupils with SEND are often significantly below ARE and teachers don’t want to use ARE when discussing pupil progress, especially to the pupil’s family.
The Report recommends using pre-key stage standards for statutory end of key stage assessment and these should include all pupils working on subject-specific learning. These standards link in with the end of key stage standards used for pupils working at the level of National Curriculum tests, providing an inclusive scale for all pupils working on subject-specific learning.
This Report however only covers statutory end of key stage assessments. It does not provide guidance for the formative and summative assessment that the school will use throughout key stages. It only specifies that schools should not work towards the standards and they should use/develop an assessment system that suits their needs.
The approach schools choose for their formative/summative assessment system will struggle to be inclusive due to the National Curriculum’s current use of ARE. Under the previous curriculum framework, the P levels fed into the National Curriculum giving a very inclusive system for formative and summative assessment. The pupils with SEND were working at a developmentally lower level on the same scale covering the same curriculum. It was an inclusive system.
The challenge for schools will be to develop or decide on a formative/summative assessment approach, they have to ensure their curriculum has sufficient breadth, is able to show the pupils’ depth and breadth of understanding. This will be easier to achieve in special schools as this will be the focus for the whole school and will be used with every child. I feel mainstream settings may struggle in this area due to lack of resources (time, money and expertise) and would benefit in developing their approach working with a local special school. This would give the added benefit of local schools all using the same language when discussing pupil progress.
How Does this Affect B Squared?
We will ensure our assessment is inclusive by providing an assessment framework for pupils working on subject-specific learning that is in line with the National Curriculum. This inclusive approach will prepare and support children who will transition on to the Age Related Expectations of the Primary Curriculum. This will assist teachers working with a wide range of abilities to differentiate work for their pupils. They will be able to look at a subject over a range of abilities, so they can plan and deliver appropriate lessons.
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