The Assessment Foundation works alongside the four regional consortia in Wales, because we all want to ensure that our messages to schools are consistent. We are pleased to be working particularly closely with GwE, where almost 90% of primary schools use Incerts for formative assessment, and to support the summative assessment at the ends of the Key Stages.
There has always been inconsistency across Wales in how this summative assessment is made, and GwE have been working to address this problem recently. For the end of Key Stage assessments in summer 2017, they have decided that an "over half" threshold should be used. They have written “to best reflect an outcome or level, a learner must achieve the majority of statements noted against that outcome or level”, and they have sent schools three examples of how to arrive at a whole Outcome or Level this way. However, they have added that end of Key Stage assessments from Incerts and other electronic systems should not be used this year, and we know this has surprised some people.
The reason is that Incerts does not normally produce the whole Outcomes/Levels needed for the statutory End of Key Stage data directly, and if different schools use it in different ways this can lead to inconsistency. Incerts does “count up” all the individual statements achieved by a pupil as GwE described, but it uses them to produce sub-Outcomes and sub-Levels, or decimal Outcomes and decimal Levels. When whole Outcomes or Levels are required, we have always left it to the school to take a closer look at the “c”s, and to decide when to award a “secure Outcome 5” or a “secure Level 4”, etc.
However, you can follow GwE’s “majority of statements” rule and still use Incerts to help you: there’s no need to count statements manually or judge whether enough have been ticked “by eye”. The thresholds built into Incerts are such that a pupil will be in the “top half of the c band” if the majority of statements are achieved, and the “bottom half of the c band” if not. So, to ensure you follow GwE’s rule at the end of this year, you just need to look at the decimal Outcomes/Levels and know that the mid-point of our “c” band is at “X.17”. Put simply, if the decimal score is above “X.17” you can say the Outcome or Level is secure by the “majority of statements” rule. So for example, you would return Level 4 to Welsh Government for Key Stage 2 pupils scoring above 4.17, and so on.
It’s relatively straightforward to make this cut-off automatically in a spreadsheet, and our Support Team will create a template for you shortly. If you have any questions in the meantime though, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.