RS Assessment from Hodder Education Blog

Transition year: Under the white paper microscope
By RS Assessment from Hodder Education
06 Jul

Year 6 reading results in the autumn were roughly on track

In our last blog we noted that after a whole term of in-person teaching in the autumn 2020, the results of the analysis of the reading tests showed Year 6 children were the least affected. That is to say that the average reading scores were very similar to the prior cohort. However when we looked more specifically at results of children eligible for Pupil Premium we noted the gap between that group and their peers looked to have grown, with potentially an average of 7 months learning between the two groups.

Year 6 in the spring, on average, 2 months behind in reading

In our most recent white paper we looked at the results at the end of the spring term 2021, this was after an extended period where the majority of children were learning from home and only children of key workers able to attend school. We were surprised to see the impact this lockdown had, with declines in attainment in every subject and year group when compared to the 2020 cohort, much larger than the end of the autumn term. Again the trend was consistent with the Year 6 reading cohort the least affected, however the drop in scores indicated they could be on average 2 months behind in their learning.

Year 6 Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling most affected

The end of the spring term also showed the average Year 6 scores in Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS) well below the 2020 cohort. Talking to teachers about their experience in the spring term indicated that this drop in average scores could have been due to some of the new GPS content not having been taught while schools were teaching online. A key focus in primary schools during this summer term has been to cover the remaining content and ensure the core skills are embedded before transition to secondary schools.

Year 6 maths, on average, 3 months behind

Year 6 children’s maths results in spring 2021 were also behind their 2020 peers, showing they could be around 3 months behind. As with GPS, we found that this decline in average scores could be due to much of this skills-based curriculum not having been taught. This will have put further pressure on the teaching over the summer term, and with schools having to continue ad hoc remote teaching as bubbles of children are sent home, this will be a challenging time to ensure children keep up with the demands of the curriculum.

"Given the significant amount of time out of school, the maths curriculum was not fully taught. PUMA outcomes showed some significant gaps in learning, analysis shows that on average children had missed 20% of the required curriculum content."
Matthew Wynne, Primary Regional Director, United Learning

The wider school picture  

We know the spring term and going though a second national lockdown will have had an impact on children’s attainment and their general emotional wellbeing. The results of these tests were taken quite quickly after schools re-opened fully, and as Matthew Wynne of United Learning commented, this may have negatively impacted on their results.

“The timing of the PiRA/PUMA tests was a difficult decision to make. We decided to test pupils prior to the Easter break in order that we have a clear indicator as to the impact of remote learning. In a number of schools children took several weeks to re-establish social groupings and relationships, particularly in settings where a larger proportion of children were attending remotely. This may have negatively impacted upon their test scores.”
Matthew Wynne, Primary Regional Director, United Learning

Looking ahead to the autumn term

The results of the spring term analysis indicates children in Year 6 were not where we expected them to be at this point in the year, across the subjects. With a full summer term of open schools we remain hopeful that the majority of children will have kept up with the demands of the curriculum and will be ready for the transition to secondary.

This year, more than ever, it will be important to use a variety of tools to understand where learners are as they transition to secondary school, to identify what support they might need to help them succeed. Using quick, auto-marking reading and maths tests like ART and AMT can help you uncover which core skills learners are excelling at and which may need further intervention to enable them to reach their full potential. With parallel forms you’ll also be able to quickly check back in later in the year. Click through to download a free maths or reading digital evaluation pack or talk to your local consultant.

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