Primary assessment loophole for ‘failing’ pupils closed.

The TES reports that new DfE guidance means pupils who enter key stage 2 tests but fail to score, will no longer be exempt from progress measures.

The government has closed a primary assessment loophole that provided an incentive for schools to enter children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) for tests they were likely to fail.

New updated guidance on primary school accountability, published by the Department for Education, reveals changes to the scores given to children working below the standard of the test.

A loophole arose because children who were entered for the test, but gained too few marks to be allocated the lowest scaled score of 80, were not included in the progress measures.

This mean that, in theory, schools’ progress measures could benefit if children who were expected to fail were entered into the test and failed – rather than being assessed as working at a pre key-stage standard, which guaranteed a low nominal score.

But now the government has said that, from 2017, pupils who are entered into the test but gain too few marks to be allocated a scaled score will be allocated nominal points. It does not say how many.

A phenomenon described as the “progress loophole of despair”, by data analyst and TES columnist James Pembroke who pointed it out in a blog last year.

Headteachers were told that they should not enter children for the tests if the child was unable to answer even the easiest questions.

Mr Pembroke said the change was welcome, but more needed to be done. “Assigning pupils who entered, but failed, the test a nominal score is welcome as it will stop schools from exploiting that particular loophole,” he said

In its guidance, the DfE said the change was being made in response to “feedback from schools and stakeholders”.

It added that from 2017, it intends to include pupils in special schools, in the calculation of key stage 1 prior attainment groups for the progress measures.

Read more Primary assessment loophole for ‘failing’ pupils closed.

Will closing this loophole have a great affect on schools? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin

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