# Overall English Level for Key Stage 2 National Curriculum Tests 2012 - A question

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Tiggermet, Mar 2, 2012.

Anyone?

Nope!

3. ### groovyshell83Occasional commenter

it is a mystery!!!!

4. ### MilgodEstablished commenter

I don't think anyone really knows yet.
Some have heard from a LA advisor, who has heard from a different county, who heard from their second cousin twice removed what will happen. I don't take the word of second cousins twice removed though.
We will find out around June/July I bet.

5. ### littlerussellNew commenter

As I understand it, Bew recommended that it should happen, Gove said it will happen this summer, and the people who actually do the calculations are still scratching their heads trying to puzzle it out.
Whatever format they choose is going to lead to some schools 'winning' and others 'losing'. We know that we only have to assess at whole levels, not sublevels.
Suppose, for example, they just pitch all L4s at the middle of L4 (ie 4b for APS scores) - which would seem logical.
A school whose 'average' child moves 2c >>> 4c will make 14 APS.
But a school whose 'average' child moves 2a >>>> 4a will make 10 APS.
Yet both represent the same progress. The 2a would need a 5 just to be counted as 'average', when relatively few 2as achieve L5.
To put those figures in context, the school where the average child makes 14 APS is nudging towards outstanding, and the school which makes 10 APS is probably going into a category.
And then there is the knock-on effect of unbalancing the reading and writing. A child whose results were 3a + 4c for reading and writing would come out around the level threshold and might get a 3 or 4 depending on their exact mark.
Now, if you can't have a 4c ...
Just missing 4 in Reading (3a) and just a 4 in Writing (4b) = Level 4 overall.
But 4c in Reading + just missing a 4 in Writing = 4c + 3b = 3 overall.
So, Writing now counts for 'more' than Reading.
Working on the basis that the DfE employs someone who understands these figures (I sometimes wonder), I assume that they are trying desperately hard to come up with a formula which is the least objectionable to the least number of schools, but aren't succeeding. I can't get my head round how it could work.

6. ### Tiggermet

Great points littlerussell! I have come to the same conclusion that for this year it would appear that the writing is going to be worth "more" than reading with the assessing happening at a whole level judgement rather than sub-level inside a whole level (I wait for Markuss to reply that there is no such thing - I get rather worried when we don't hear from him!). This year it would appear that a borderline child really needs to reach a Level 4 in writing to stand any chance of being awarded an overall level 4 in English. Your point about the APS progression in writing is also very important, especially if a school has a high proportion of 2b/2a writers. These children will need to reach an overall level 5 to hit very good/outstanding progress targets of 14 APS. If these children attain below a level 5 then they will only hit in the case of the 2b child satisfactory progress and falling behind progress for the 2a child even if the teacher actually thinks they are a high attaining level 4 (4a)!
This is also the case for the Level 3 KS1 writer (21 APS) who if assessed at Level 5 (33 APS) has made the satisfactory progress and will need to attain Level 6 to reach very good/outstanding progress targets of 14 APS. I wonder how many schools are aware of this issue and will this lead to a high number of children being pushed through the optional level 6 papers in the hope of hitting progress targets?
Now, with many schools being desktop monitored by Ofsted using National Curriculum Test (SATs - Sorry Markuss!) statistics on attainment and achievement it is fair to say that these areas play such a major role in how judgements are being reached about a school. It would be great if updated guidance on this issue could be shared with everyone asap on the DFE site. The updated guidance on the internal tests appeared very quickly and clearly explained the protocols for these internal tests and maybe an update of information on KS2 assessment is on the way?

I am pinning my hopes and expectations that those making this decision for this "one year" change do come up with a formula, which works fairly for everyone. However, in the current format, I can't quite see how it is possible without schools in different contexts being majorly advantaged or disadvantaged.
Interesting times ahead...what do others think?

7. ### jay7New commenter

Now that the internally marked thresholds are out and look fairly similar to previous years lets hope it all becomes clear soon!

8. ### groovyshell83Occasional commenter

Woah I am lost!! I was feeling pretty ok considering we are marking our own writing but this thread has put the panic back inside me. As teachers marking the internal writing, do we only give whole level judgements?
I am not sure what you mean about the APS points. I was under the understanding that whole levels were also given at ks1 so even if the child was teacher assessed at a 2a, the raiseonline take it as a 2b. is this not correct? So many questions....

9. ### Tiggermet

Thanks for this Jay7 - I forgot to include the threshold information in my last post. If anyone hasn't looked at the internal thresholds then they are available here:http://www.education.gov.uk/b00203626/key-stage-2-english-writing-tests/internally-marked-english-writing-test/internally-marked-level-3-5-english-level-threshold-tables
http://www.education.gov.uk/b00203626/key-stage-2-english-writing-tests/the-internally-marked-level-6-english-writing-test/internally-marked-level-6-english-level-threshold-tables

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10. ### groovyshell83Occasional commenter

sorry to be thick - are these thresholds just for the writing test or for the english overall?

11. ### Tiggermet

Hi groovyshell83! I have been informed at my assessment for writing training courses that at the moment whole levels will be given for writing but this might change. The APS refers to the average point score, which all statistics on attainment and achievement is calculated from. Although the guidance talks about 2 whole levels of progress for each child, which you are right links from the overall key stage 1 result, you have to remember this can hide slower progress because it is possible for a child to make two levels of progress in the statistics without actually having to make 6 sub-levels (two full levels).
For example, a KS1 child who attains a 2a (17 APS) for reading and a 2a (17 APS) for writing would overall attain a level 2 in English and average 17 APS. However, if they attained a 4c (25 APS) for reading and a 4b (27 APS) for writing then technically they have made 2 levels of progress for they have attained a Level 4 (27 APS) but their APS progress measure is only 10 APS which actually means that they have fallen behind at KS2!
Basically, when you dig down deeper into the APS figures, each child needs to make at least 12 APS improvement from their KS1 Reading, Writing and Maths scores and this guarantees the "real" two levels of progress. For outstanding progress, the aspirational APS improvement should be 14 points and higher for each subject area which as I explained above could be tricky this year if we give out whole levels for our writing assessments rather than fine levels.
I have included the guidance from Raiseonline about how the progress measures are created. Hope the following helps:
For the English progress measure, they calculate the KS1 English level from the reading and writing levels. They convert the reading and writing levels into points as follows:
Level w 1 2c 2b 2a 3 4
Points 3 9 13 15 17 21 27
If a pupil has points in both Reading and Writing, they take an average of the two to come up with a points score for English. If the child has points in only reading or in only writing, then these points are taken as the English points score.
The overall English level, using whole levels only, is then calculated as in the table below:
Level w 1 2 3 4
Points 3-5 6-11 12-17 18-23 24+

12. ### Tiggermet

Just the writing

up

14. ### Tiggermet

No update yet...

15. ### lynneth

Well mine can all talk the hind legs off a donkey, so that's good then!

17. ### paulrichardfoster

Am I right in thinking that, after today's advice, an overall test level (i.e. the one that goes into RAISEonline) will be based on Reading plus 30 marks for L3 in Writing, 40 for L4 and 50 for L5?
If so, that means (on last years thresholds) that R 13 + W L4 = 53 marks (L4 overall)
It also means that L5 could be out of reach overall if your pupil is a L4 writer, as they could score 40 for L4 W and <39 = L4 R. To get a L5 overall they would need either L4W and 39+ in Reading, or L5W and 29+ in Reading. Basically, to get a L4 we'd make sure a kid gets L4 in their TA for writing, and then hope they score more than 13. This seems low...
Does this mean that we'll get less L3 (hooray!), more level 4 (hooray!) and less level 5 (boo!)?There is also the question of L6, which is only attainable if they've got a verified L6 in the Reading paper and a L6 in Writing too.
here's the article. What do we think?
http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/assessment/keystage2/pupil/b00209308/english-levels/english-formula

18. ### MilgodEstablished commenter

What do I think?

I think it is stupid.

Was I expecting anything less?

No.

19. ### Tiggermet

Well, at last, the guidance is published and after pinning my hopes and expectations that those making this decision for this "one year" change do come up with a formula, which works fairly for everyone...I feel very disappointed. My initial worries in the Autumn Term have proven to be true in the fact that for this year it would appear that writing is going to be worth "more" than reading.

Based on last year's thresholds, for an overall level 4 in English (41/100) it was possible for a Level 3 writer (22/50 - Level 3a) to reach an overall level 4 in English by scoring 19 or more in the Reading Paper (19 being in the 4c score profile). For this year, a child of a similar profile (Level 3 Writer = 30 points) will need to score at least 23 (probably the 4b score profile) in the reading paper to get an overall level 4.

Could this lead to a number of borderline children missing an overall level 4 in English? This year it would appear that a borderline level 4 child really needs to reach a level 4 in writing to stand any real chance of being awarded an overall level 4 in English. Could this lead to more generous teacher assessments in writing to secure this overall level for this group of children?
In addition to this, there are further issues linked to an overall level 5 in English. Based on last year's thresholds, for an overall level 5 in English (70/100) it was possible for a Level 4 writer (35/50 - Level 4a) to reach an overall level 5 in English by scoring 35 or more in the Reading Paper (35 being in the 5c score profile). For this year, a child of a similar profile (Level 4 Writer = 40 points) will need to score at least 39 (probably the 5b score profile) in the reading paper to get an overall level 5.
Could this lead to a number of borderline children missing an overall level 5 in English? This approach appears to further support the idea that a borderline child really needs to reach a Level 5 in writing to stand any real chance of being awarded an overall level 5 in English. I worry that this could this lead to more generous teacher assessments in writing to secure this overall level for this group of children.
I am also concerned about the APS progression in writing using this system because this becomes very important, especially if a school has a high proportion of 2b/2a writers from KS1. In this approach, these children will need to reach an overall level 5 in their writing to hit very good/outstanding progress targets of 14 APS. If these children attain below a level 5 then they will only hit in the case of the 2b child satisfactory progress and falling behind progress for the 2a child even if the teacher actually thinks they are a high attaining level 4 (4a)!
This is also the case for the level 3 KS1 writer (21 APS) who if assessed at level 5 (33 APS) has made satisfactory progress and will need to attain level 6 to reach very good/outstanding progress targets of 14 APS. I wonder how many schools would have changed their approaches to the level 6 papers if they had known the system that was going to be put into operation this year? A number of schools might now be regretting that they didn't enter a high number of children for the optional level 6 papers because a child needs to score a level 6 in both to be awarded an overall level 6 in English.

Now, with many schools being desktop monitored by different agencies, including Ofsted, using National Curriculum Test (SATs - Sorry Markuss!) statistics on attainment and achievement, it is fair to say that these areas play such a major role in how judgements are being reached about a school. The approach adopted this year will have a significant effect on VA figures for a school and might lead to some having very different statistical profiles than they were expecting. This "one year" formula change does not appear to be fair for all schools and schools in different contexts appear that they will be majorly advantaged or disadvantaged.
The problem is that I can't think of and haven't been able to find anyone who can suggest a fair system which is statically robust enough to consider all schools and contexts across the country. It would appear that the change this year to include teacher assessed whole levels in writing has blown a big hole in the statistical wall used to judge the performance of schools and no-one appears to have the right equipment to fix the problem!
What do others think?

20. ### markussOccasional commenter

It's OK. I'm reliably (?) informed that nowadays "everybody" knows that children don't do SATs. So, that's OK.
It seems to me to be a pity (as ever) that "everybody" doesn't know also that
TA (assuming it's done in a professional way) must be more reliable than NCT for NC English (which wasn't drawn up to be assessed by test)
and
it appears that children who are at a stage of development in English where their speaking and listening is much better than either their reading or their writing are not getting the recognition they should - just because there isn't an NCT on it. "Everybody" knows that speaking and listening is Attainment Target 1 out of the three for English.