Blaming failures in KS3 English progression on flawed KS2 data is ignoring the real problem

The summer term is always the time of year when schools begin to take stock and assess just how much progress has been made across all year groups since September, endeavouring to fine tune the curriculum for next year. Teachwire reports

As the Head of the English Department at an inner city secondary school, I would often be looking at attainment data at this point and be left wondering what was going wrong.

Why were our students languishing in the same progress bands in which they entered at KS2? Why were groups of students failing to make the required progress?

In a short survey I conducted of secondary teachers across all subjects, a staggering 90% of respondents felt that students were extensively coached in Year 6, leading to an inaccurate picture of their true abilities.

Furthermore, a shocking 85% believed that students were perhaps ‘helped’ during the tests, leading to flawed data. This would explain the failure to make progress, right?

These students had been pawns in a game to meet primary school attainment expectations. Problem solved?

Surely there must be other factors at play? However, in my new role of English Consultant, across a Trust made up of both primary and secondary schools, these myths have quickly been debunked.

Through my privileged position of unfettered access to day-to-day teaching within primary schools – an option unavailable to most time-stretched secondary teachers – reasons why joined up teaching between the primary and secondary curriculum is crucial have quickly become apparent.

While the KS2 reading tests almost solely measure students’ ability to read for meaning, locate evidence and infer deeper meaning (which primary teachers work unbelievably hard to deliver), GCSE-style baseline tests, often employed by schools, require students to demonstrate a whole plethora of skills that have not yet been learned.

Read the full article Blaming failures in KS3 English progression on flawed KS2 data is ignoring the real problem

Do you agree? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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