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Primary Spelling Assessments

Spelling assessments broken into two categories: End of term spelling assessments and check ups. These are available for each year group form 1 to 6.

Primary spelling assessments

Spelling check-ups will help teachers to know specifically how their pupils’ spelling currently matches age-related expectations. Alongside these, the spelling tests provide a seasonal picture of attainment, and help schools to track pupil progress from autumn, to spring to summer. Gain a better picture of how your pupils’ spelling is getting along, where the gaps are, and how well they are making progress.

As the programmes of study were not introduced until 2014 (and not until 2015 in years 2 and 6), many children may initially struggle to perform well in their age-related assessment. Teachers may consider beginning with the test for a lower age group, in order to identify gaps in their pupils’ knowledge. Once these gaps have been taught, the next assessment would provide the next step, and so on.

Assessments are available for each year group from 1-6 separately. Teachers of mixed-age classes should select an appropriate test for each pupil in their class, regardless of their age, in order to design a spelling programme which will help pupils to catch up with age-related expectations. Performance can be tracked using one of the tracking grids provided, or any grid of the school’s choice. Evidence of progress can then easily be identified, and future teaching adjusted accordingly.

The tests have been trialled in a range of Kent primary schools, and written by experienced educators in the primary sector. Feedback from early trials shows that pupils find these tests challenging, which is in accordance with the higher expectations of the statutory English tests 2016.

In more detail

Assessment of spelling attainment cannot be achieved by tests alone; they only provide part of the picture. However, as teachers need to assess children against the new programmes of study, it would serve them well to test pupils’ knowledge of attainment against age-related expectations.

These assessments have been trialled in tens of Kent primary schools. They fall into two categories:

  • End of term spelling assessments (out of 20 words); 3 parallel tests
  • Check-ups (longer assessments which help teachers to match pupils’ current attainment to the age-related programme of study)

Each type of assessment fulfils a different purpose and can be administered in different ways.

End of term spelling assessments

These consist of three parallel tests, A, B and C, which can be used at intervals during the academic year in each year group. They are similar to the statutory spelling tests for years 2 and 6, which many teachers are familiar with. Twenty words have been selected using the Spelling Appendix from the programmes of study, and including words from the statutory word lists where relevant. Twenty de-contextualised sentences are provided which the teacher reads aloud. It is suggested that these are conducted at the end of terms 2, 4 and towards the end of the school year.

Age-related check-ups

The age-related check-ups have been designed to help teachers find out which words, spelling rules and conventions their pupils know, according to the age-related programme of study, in particular to Spelling Appendix 1. These are longer assessments of 50 words each, and should be broken up into sections, particularly when administering to younger pupils. All check-ups have a raw score of 50 points. This is so that percentages can be gained quickly. Thresholds are based on the raw score. Children will perform either at one of three bands, or one of five. The school can choose whether they prefer to use the three-band or five-band system.

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