Assessment and Progression

Assessment in history at Key Stage 2

Assessment in history still remains a problem in primary schools. It is given too low a priority, not least because there is no statutory requirement to use numerical levels and because many classroom teachers believe that it is not really necessary. As a consequence OFSTED has recently found that “Fewer than one quarter of schools have good systems for assessing history at Key Stages 1 and 2. Where it is good, schools have developed a structured approach linked to progression and pupils’ work is marked using subject specific comments. These schools are developing portfolios of work to illustrate standards and guide teachers in making accurate age related assessments. Such good practice is rare.”

The most frequent criticism by inspectors is of poor marking in general, rather than subject specific and often setting insufficiently high expectations.

“Often individual teachers assess history in their own way so that the outcomes are unsystematic and of doubtful reliability and validity. Such weakness needs to be tackled at whole school level, and drawing on expertise available from outside if it is not to be found within. It starts with straightforward good practice, that tasks should have objectives, and that pupils, teachers and others should know how well they have done on significant individual pieces of work, and over a period of time”.

The solution

The site offers a very practical set of solutions based on a set of easy to manage, easy to mark, short tasks on key concepts covering most topics. You will find examples of tasks and mark schemes which are tried and tested and ready to use. You will also find in the judging pupils’ work section examples of work of pupils who have actually used these tasks. Each carries a definitive commentary to help you gauge the standard in relation to national expectations. You will NOT find National Curriculum levels being used, as these are far too blunt for measuring performance in individual tasks. They were only ever intended to be used at the end of the key stage, years ago, and then only as best fit. Now that the requirement to use them has passed, their use is mainly restricted to helping with progression.

There is a also a helpful section on assessment for learning.

Progression by strand in history at KS 2

One of the most important tasks that a history subject leader carries out is that of helping colleagues to build progression into pupils' learning. With Key Stage 2 being the longest key stage, there is a danger that pupils simply learn different content in each...
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Assessment for learning in Primary history

Assessment for Learning is much-vaunted and many-faceted.  If we break down what it means in its constituent parts, many of you will feel that you do most of that already, and you probably do. What we need is a consistent, coherent, whole-school approach so that...
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Target setting in history at Key Stage 2

With the emphasis that the Primary Strategy places on Assessment for Learning and the sharing of objectives, it would seem that target setting might be the natural next step.  Whilst this might be true of the Core subjects, I think that with Foundation subjects there...
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Judging pupils’ work at Key Stage 2

Teachers' failure to carry out any useful diagnostic, formative or summative assessment in history at Key Stage 2  has come under heavy criticism in all recent OFSTED reports.  So we need to address the issue. What is proposed here is that you focus on assessing pupils'...
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Common assessment tasks in history at Key Stage 2

Many colleagues who have been sceptical about assessing history at Key Stage 2 have been won over by this simple approach which aims to give good diagnostic feedback to you and the pupils by using a number of simple tasks.  We have provided some common...
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Principles of good assessment in history at Key Stage 2

As OFSTED reports have pointed out for many years, assessment in history is not strong in most schools and the situation is not really improving.  Part of the problem has always been with the NC levels. Thankfully they have now been abandoned and have no...
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