Assessment and Progression

Assessment in history at Key Stage 2

key stage 2 classroom sceneThe issue of assessment and progression in history at KS2 still remains a problem in primary schools-nearly 30 years after the introduction of the national Curriculum . 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.

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...
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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...
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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...
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