In May, Year 2 children will be assessed for the first time on the new curriculum in England. To save you time, we have taken a look at the new sample tests and frameworks and given some key pointers below.
What’s in the test?
The new Key Stage 1 English Reading Test will consist of two papers. Paper 1 (lower demand) is an integrated reading and answer booklet and Paper 2 (higher demand) is a reading booklet with a separate answer booklet.
Do all children need to attempt both papers?
Most pupils should be given the opportunity to attempt both papers, but teachers can stop the test at any time if necessary.
Will the papers be timed?
The papers will not be strictly timed, although suggested timings are:
• around 30 minutes for Paper 1
• around 40 minutes for Paper 2
Is there a set day for children to take the tests?
There isn’t a set day for the administration of the Key Stage 1 Reading Tests, but they will have to be taken at some point in May.
What will be tested?
The tests will focus on the reading comprehension elements of the Key Stage 1 national curriculum. You can find the ‘Content Domain’ in the test framework document. This shows elements that are considered assessable in a paper-based test format (e.g. 1a ‘draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts’). The reading booklets will have two unrelated texts in them sampling from fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Do the frameworks give information about how to teach the curriculum at Key Stage 1?
These sample test and framework documents relate only to the assessment of the curriculum within the test papers. They have been devised for test developers rather than for teachers, but they are useful to give a sense of what may be in a live test.
Do the reading papers reflect the higher expectations of the new curriculum?
The fiction text in the Paper 2 sample clearly presents a much higher challenge than Paper 1. There are substantial blocks of text with minimal illustrations. Children need to be confident, independent readers to attempt this paper. It is clear that children are expected to have moved past the decoding phase assessed in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check (which will remain unchanged) to a much higher level of fluency and comprehension by the end of Year 2. Whilst in the past Paper 2 was only for higher ability children, it is now the case that all children are expected to attempt this, though teachers can stop the test at any time if necessary.
What types of questions are included?
Questions include multiple choice responses, ordering, linking lines, short ‘find and copy’ answers and longer explanations. They test the key expected skills that relate to comprehension, such as simple explanation, inference, prediction and understanding of vocabulary in context.
How will the papers be marked?
These papers will be set externally but marked internally by teachers. Scores will be converted into a scaled score using conversion tables.
How will these papers fit into the overall assessment for reading at Key Stage 1?
The test score will be combined with a teacher assessment of reading to reach an overall judgement.
This blog post is part of a series of posts from experts breaking down the new 2016 National Curriculum tests by subject area to show you exactly what has changed and what to expect in May 2016. Read the next post: Your guide to the 2016 National Curriculum Tests: KS2 Reading
Alison Pickford is a commissioning editor for primary literacy, currently working on Read Write Inc. She has worked in educational publishing for 9 years. Before that she taught English as a foreign language in the Czech Republic.