England an outlier in using teacher assessment for Sats

Ofqual is investigating different approaches to the assessment of writing at the end of primary education

sats, writing, ofqual research, teacher assessment

England is one of only two international jurisdictions that use teacher assessment when judging the writing ability of 10- and 11-year-olds, new Ofqual research has found.

The exams regulator is currently investigating different approaches to the assessment of writing at the end of primary education in countries or jurisdictions that are English-speaking or use English for assessments.

It says the aim is “to provide evidence that can both support stakeholder debate and inform government’s ongoing exploration of potential alternatives to the current model”.

According to initial findings, published today, Ofqual has identified 15 large-scale assessments that systematically assess writing around the end of the primary stage.

Of these, the report says that only England and the Caribbean use a portfolio of writing assessed by teachers, with the remaining 13 assessing writing via a test.

The report says: “These use a variety of assessment modes, from online adaptive to paper-based. They also use different task types, such as extended-response, short response and multiple choice or a mixture of these.”

The use of teacher assessment in the writing component of key stage 2 Sats in England has long proved contentious, with concerns about the accuracy of results, and the consistency of moderation.

Today’s report also says that Ofqual has suggested a tougher stance on deterring cheating in Sats.

It says that the exams regulator has suggested to the Standards and Testing Agency, which sets the key stage 2 tests, that it “may wish to consider strengthening their current recommendation that schools should arrange for KS2 tests to be independently observed”.

It says this could become “more of an expectation or requirement to support verification of the integrity of test administration”.

It adds that the STA is considering the language of their recommendation in relation to test observers.

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