With the unprecedented change to assessment requirements in the past two years, it’s becoming clear that many schools are now fully embracing their freedom to manage the curriculum and assess in the detail that meets the requirements of their own school.
We continually strive to support teaching the curriculum however you choose, letting SIMS provide the tracking and analysis based on what you teach. We were delighted to be recognised for this at the Bett awards earlier this year, winning the award for ICT Tools for Learning, Teaching and Assessment.
Building on this success, we are further supporting schools to achieve this goal by enhancing the flexibility within the Programme of Study in SIMS Assessment, so that from the Autumn Release, primary and secondary schools will have the ability to customise the default grades, colours and grade descriptions being used. Secondary schools will be able to define their own Programme of Study at Key Stage 4, as Years 10 and 11 are being included into this area too.
What does this mean?
Firstly, let's talk about the gradesets. Schools have fed back to us that they love the flexibility and ease of use of the Programme of Study - however, the default grades of 'emerging, developing, secure and mastered' do not always reflect the language being used within school. By introducing the ability to adapt the Programme of Study gradesets, schools in England will be able to customise the settings to more accurately reflect the language, grades or colours being used within their school, while maintaining all links to existing reports and analysis using their new custom settings.
This means that schools can replace the default settings and choose to indicate whether pupils are exceeding, on track or a cause for concern, or highlight if they are working at age-related expectations or towards them. You can be safe in the knowledge that all of this information will run into linked analysis and reports too. SIMS further supports schools by maintaining the default gradeset settings in the background so that these can be easily referenced for comparisons with other SIMS schools using the Programme of Study and to continue to support the transfer of pupil results in the Common Transfer File (CTF). This will support the movement of pupils between schools and the transition from primary to secondary.
Supporting primary and secondary schools
The Programme of Study within SIMS provides teachers with a framework to indicate what a pupil knows and does not yet know, in relation to the national curriculum, along with an overview of pupils’ strengths and next steps for achievement. While primary schools have been growing in confidence assessing this way, secondary schools are still exploring their options.
SIMS Assessment already includes all of the national curriculum Programme of Study statements for Key Stage 3. We have now extended the possibilities of assessing this way within Key Stage 4 by increasing the NC Year availability within the Programme of Study area to include Year 10 and Year 11. This means that from the Autumn Release, secondary schools will have the ability to extend their curriculum pathways upwards from Key Stage 3 and assess and analyse achievement against this detail for pupils in Key Stage 4 too.
For those secondary schools who choose to assess against the GCSE grades (or equivalent) within Key Stage 4, we already have resources that provide analysis for 5A*-C, EBacc, Progress 8 and other performance measures. These resources are available to download from My Account.
Remember, if you’ve already got SIMS Assessment, there’s no additional charge so you can get started with these assessment resources straight away.