Recording progress to and beyond the National Standard
Now we have established the national standard we can formulate a method for recording progress towards it.
There are two dimensions to progress in relation to the desired learning outcomes. First progress from no evidence up to meeting the level of demand of the standard as defined by each of the national standard assessment criteria. Is the pupil secure as determined by the observed evidence in relation to that criterion? Second, how far through the criteria collectively has the pupil progressed? First let's assume progress is linear across two years. We know it won't be for all individuals but if we assume the approach of Occam's razor, in the absence of a definitive answer in a range of competing options, choose the simplest.
Let's say the learner has evidenced 50% of the criteria in the program of study to the required standard and the teacher judges them to be half way in the others. They might then say 75% of the way to the standard. This is not intended to be a precise quantification, it is simply to give an indication based on the teacher's professional knowledge of the pupil's work about how far they have to go to reach the standard. A typical child that is on target to meet the standard will be about 50% of the way there after 1 year in a 2 year programme and 100% at the end of the 2 years. A faster progressing pupil might be at the standard after 1.5 years and a slow progressing pupil might be 50% of the way there after 2 years. Teachers have the professional discretion to provide their evidence of progress based on whatever data they collect as long as it is plausible in relation to the criteria for the standard and informative to parents.
Now what about mastery level?
Mastery is a bad word to use because it implies there is complete competence and this is very unlikely in KS1 and KS2. If it is full competence in relation to the national standard, and most children aren't at it, it under-mines the credibility of the standard. The national standard requires mastery of its programme of study, not some arbitrary measure above that. If it is full mastery of the subject then at KS1 it's entirely unbelievable because no-one masters a subject by the end of KS1 not even Mozart or Einstein. If we want continuity beyond the national standard, let the teacher decide on extension work and tell parents that. Your child completed the work to the national standard 6 months early and so we are giving them extension work to maintain their progress. If we want to provide more fine detailed information why not provide a free on-line test for such children? The community can support this at no cost to the tax payer as has been demonstrated in the Computing Baseline testing Project where over 52000 children have been tested in less than 6 months from the initial proposal. Using on-line testing saves the marking and aggregates the results for all the teachers providing them with useful analysis without bogging them down in complex assessment processes. To be eligible to take the test you must have teacher assessment confirming that the standard was reached and that you have had some preparation for the test. Then you will be given a position in the test in relation to all others taking the test that can be given to parents. If we want to communicate information to parents about attainment beyond the standard that is a simple and inexpensive way to do it. Of all the children taking the test your child was in the lower 50%, upper 10% etc. Parents can opt out and say they don't want their child to take the test if they want to. (It's a democracy after all and neither the state nor teachers should be telling parents what is good for their children in non-vital and debatable areas, give parents the choice) In those circumstances the teacher can use professional discretion to decide what extension or enrichment work to provide and use the results of any testing to inform their decisions for the child.