A1. How do teachers assess the progress of their pupils in science and maths?

Why this is important

Effective assessment methods can help teachers to see gaps in pupils’ knowledge and plan lessons accordingly.

The Department for Education (DfE) has stated: “Assessment levels have now been removed and will not be replaced. Schools have the freedom to develop their own means of assessing pupils’ progress towards end of key stage expectation.”37 However, the DfE added that “schools will be expected to demonstrate (with evidence) their assessment of pupils’ progress, to keep parents informed, to enable governors to make judgements about the school’s effectiveness, and to inform Ofsted inspections”.38


Over the next few years assessment in primary schools will change. The DfE’s core assessment principles state that effective assessment:

  • gives reliable information to parents about how their child, and their child’s school, is performing
  • helps drive improvement for pupils and teachers
  • makes sure the school is keeping up with external best practice and innovation.3940

Performance descriptors are currently being developed and full details will be included here as soon as they are available. Pupils in Key Stage 1 will complete statutory tests marked by the school. Pupils in Key Stage 2 will continue to complete statutory tests, including maths, marked externally. In science, biennial sample tests will be used from 2016 to estimate national performance.41

Schools should track pupils’ performance and benchmark it, where possible, against previous years’ results, national performance data (See A2 for national benchmarks) and across different groups of pupils.

Ideas for improvement

School governors should understand school leaders’ plans for assessment of pupil progress throughout their school years – including how it is moderated and how the data are used. They need to be confident that these assessment systems are robust and provide accurate information about pupil’s progress which is effectively communicated to parents.

School leaders should check that new models for assessment under consideration meet the DfE’s core assessment principles.42 School leaders may also find it useful to read about nine schools that secured funding from the DfE to develop and share their assessment methods.

Other questions in Assessment

Back to Assessment