Ofsted will treat this year’s writing assessment with ‘caution’

New analysis of writing results reveals variations across country.

Reported in the TES one of Ofsted’s most senior officials has revealed that the inspectorate is just as reluctant to use this year’s writing assessments as it was in 2016.

The comments from Sean Harford, the watchdog’s national director of education, come as the government announced yesterday that it would look into changing the way writing is assessed for 2018.

Last year, Ofsted warned its inspectors not to base judgements of schools on the writing results. Asked if inspectors would receive the same advice as last year, Mr Harford said: “Yes. Unless we’re convinced that there’s anything different this year than last year, then we will give the same advice that we gave inspectors last year…to treat it with caution.”

Details of just how much variation there was across the country in the treatment of writing assessments are provided by analysis from Michael Tidd, deputy head of Edgewood Primary in Hucknall. Tidd obtained the figures by using freedom of information requests to discover which schools were moderated. 

The analysis of the writing results in primary schools shows many local authorities had far fewer children reaching the expected standard in schools that were moderated (by the authorities) than those that were not visited.

“My personal view is that some of the local authorities that appear to have ‘lowered’ results were probably giving a fairer representation of what children are able to do independently.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “The interim teacher assessment frameworks were designed, through discussion with curriculum experts and teachers, to produce reliable outcomes in place of the old levels system.

Read more Ofsted will treat this year’s writing assessment with ‘caution’

Is teacher assessment more accurate than the writing tests? Comment here or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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  1. Cheryl Salmon

    You have to ask yourself: using NC levels, it took years for teachers and moderators to understand how to assess writing accurately. The process was starting to bed down properly, with decent levels of consistency, so why was the overwhelming desire to interfere allowed to mess it all up?

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