Grindleford Primary School started using NFER Tests for years 3-5 in 2016 and across years 1-5 from 2018, when NFER launched assessments for KS1. Assessment Co-ordinator Richard Petts explains his reasons for choosing NFER Tests.
“We wanted a means to measure attainment and progress in-line with the shift from the old national curriculum levels to the new expected standard. As an established organisation within the arena of assessment in education, we felt that NFER would have more opportunities to offer a mature and well-developed product that would be built upon years of experience. We also thought they would have enough awareness of schools’ current and future needs to deliver an appropriate and useful set of resources.”
In addition to using the tests to confidently monitor attainment and progress, Grindleford Primary also use NFER Tests to inform teaching and learning. Mr Petts explains:
“We use the data gained to assess the impact of recent teaching in specific areas, identify areas where further consolidation could be of benefit and also to provide a means to assess the impact of any interventions for specific individuals and groups. In particular, the year 1 and 2 tests are used as an important piece of evidence to feed into teacher judgements. The content of the tests reflect the content in the national curriculum, and give an accurate reflection of what we see in the end of key stage national curriculum tests. The questions are delivered in a similar format and allow the pupils to increase their exposure to the question styles and level of demand they will eventually face.”
Mr Petts explains how he uses the NFER Tests Analysis Tool, taking advantage of the series of easy-to-interpret reports to benchmark pupil data and to monitor attainment and progress.
“NFER Tests used in conjunction with the free online analysis tool have allowed us a very detailed view of individuals’ attainment within specific areas of the curriculum, as well as their progress over time. The reports generated give quick and useful data. The ability to benchmark right down to question-level against a national sample for classes and individuals allows us to identify strengths and weaknesses in learning and gaps in coverage of the national curriculum. The Standardised Progress Report is terrific, allowing for rapid answering of queries. We have been exporting question-level analysis data to spreadsheets too so that teachers can use formatting to get an instant view of the attainment of the class/individuals on different questions and areas of the curriculum. Setting up of pupils is simple, and the workflow for entering marks quick and effective. Once the data is entered we can immediately interrogate it without the need for further input or data manipulation.”
While the tool has been crucial for measuring pupil attainment and progress, Mr Petts explains how it also enables the school to save valuable teacher time and inform discussions with stakeholders.
“The data generated is critical for us and features heavily in our reports to stakeholders as well as adding valuable weight to discussions with these stakeholders. Our internal tracking has improved through both the quality of information available and by a reduction of staff time required to collate the data. An agreement to standardise the approach to KS2 testing with NFER products in our local cluster also allows us to use these tools to perform some vital benchmarking and moderation.”
Grindleford Primary School are currently using NFER Tests across all available years and terms and Mr Petts explains why he looks forward to using NFER’s year 6 assessments and new year 1 and 2 spring assessments, which are currently in development.
“The measure of progress across and within year groups has been a critical feature for us, and the main reason why we are keen to expand our use of the tests throughout KS1 and Y6. They allow us to hold meaningful tracking interviews between staff so we feel on top of every pupil’s needs, and identify specific areas of development with staff, pupils and parents for all levels of attainment. We recommended NFER Tests to other schools and will continue to do so in the future.”