Key Stage 3 FAQs

 

End of Key Stage Assessment

What are we required to do this year?

The requirements are:

teachers assess their pupils using the Levels of Progression for Communication, Using Mathematics and Using ICT.

schools are required to participate in Quality Assurance Moderation by submitting samples of pupils’ work for moderation as follows:

  • for Communication, Using Maths and Using ICT by 13 February, 2017

When do we send the Year 10 level outcomes to CCEA?

Level outcomes for Year 10 pupils for Communication, Using Mathematics and Using ICT should be sent by EDI file to CCEA by 24 May 2017. One level is required for each skill, based on the pupil’s performance as a whole across a range of work.

When do we send the Year 10 level outcomes to parents?

Level outcomes for Year 10 pupils for Communication, Using Mathematics and Using ICT should be included in the annual report to parents by 30 June, 2017.

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Moderation at Key Stage 3

What is included in School Submissions for Moderation?

School submissions for Moderation should include samples of pupil work for each level the school intends to report between Levels 2 and 7. Samples for Level 1 are not required for external moderation, even where Level 1 may be reported for a pupil.

If a school is participating in moderation of Communication, the agreed school submission of work should contain six samples of work (three for Reading and three for Writing) for each level the school intends to report.

If the school is participating in moderation of Using Mathematics, the agreed school submission of work should contain three samples of work for each level they intend to report.

If the school is participating in moderation of Using ICT, the agreed school submission of work should contain five samples of work for each level they intend to report.

Schools may include responses to CCEA-Approved/Exemplar Assessment Tasks within their submissions. In 2016/17 it is not a requirement for moderation for schools to include a CCEA Approved/Exemplar Assessment Task in school submissions.

Schools should participate in internal standardisation to ensure consistency in assessment judgements as demonstrated in the school submission for moderation.

Can the work in the submissions for Moderation come from any pupil?

Yes. Ideally the samples of work will have been agreed through internal standardisation and can come from any pupil in any year group.

Do the samples of work we submit in the school submission have to cover all of the criteria (or 'bullet points') at the level?

No. The samples of work at the level should provide a representative snapshot of a range of work at that level. It is not expected that all of the criteria in a level will be evidenced in a submission.

We have pupils who will be assessed as having achieved Level 1. Do we need to include Level 1 work within the submission?

No. It is generally more difficult to exemplify work at Level 1 on paper and so it is not a requirement of Moderation to include samples of work at Level 1. If, however, a school wishes to include a Level 1 component within its submission, CCEA will moderate it in the same way as work at other levels and provide feedback.

The school should assess and report those pupils who are at Level 1 irrespective of whether or not Level 1 work has been submitted to CCEA.

Our school assesses Communication in both English and Irish. What should we submit for the moderation of Communication?

Irish-medium settings required to participate in moderation for Communication should provide two separate submissions – one for Communication in English; one for Communication in Irish.

Moderation submissions for Using Mathematics and Using ICT can be in both English and Irish.

For Communication, how can I demonstrate my assessments of Reading through 'writing'?

External moderation, by its nature, must concentrate on written responses to reading. Although many pupil responses to reading will be oral in nature, pupils will be able to give a more considered response to what they have read by writing about it. This might be done, for example, through composing a book review or writing a character study (although there are many other ways of writing about reading) which may be included as evidence in the submission for Moderation.

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CCEA Assessment Tasks

Are schools required to use Assessment Tasks?

In 2016/17 it is not a requirement for moderation for schools to include a CCEA Approved/Exemplar Assessment Task in school submissions.

Assessment Tasks are intended to support teachers’ judgements about the level at which each pupil is working. At Key Stage 3, teachers can still choose to design their own tasks and have these reviewed by CCEA, or use the Exemplar Assessment Tasks. Schools may choose to include responses to these tasks as evidence for moderation.

Can we use the same CCEA Approved or Exemplar Assessment Task for more than one level within the submission?

Yes. If the task has been designed to cover more than one level, it can be used to exemplify work at those different levels within the submission.

For Communication, can we use the same form of writing or the same reading activity at different levels within the submission?

Yes. What is important is that there is a variety of work within each level.

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Standards and the Levels of Progression

How do we deal with a parent's query where, for example their first child was levelled at Level 6 a few years ago but whose second child – of similar ability – is now levelled at Level 5?

It should be explained to the parent that we are now applying what is, essentially, a different standard and, therefore, outcomes may appear to be different.

If our standards at, for example, Level 7 have not been verified at Moderation and we are invited to participate in Moderation Follow-up, can we still report pupils as having achieved Level 7 on 24 May?

Yes. You should, of course, take into account the feedback offered within Moderation before submitting your final levels on 24 May.

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Specific Circumstances for Individual Schools

We are a Special School covering Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. Will one submission covering all three key stages be acceptable at Moderation?

Yes. If you feel that this best represents the day to day working of your school one school submission covering all three key stages is acceptable.

Are there any special arrangements for small schools within the quality assurance moderation arrangements?

No. The make-up of the submission is the same irrespective of school size. This is necessary so that CCEA can obtain a clear and consistent picture of the standards that each school is applying.

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Assessment Data in 2015/16

If a significant number of schools are not participating in Moderation this year, and there is variation in approach, will this year's outcomes be unregulated and unreliable?

Schools need time to adjust to the new Moderation arrangements and will equire flexibility and support over the coming years. In 2016/17 the focus will again be on capacity building and embedding of assessment standards and requirements within the system. In addition to the Agreement Trials being provided in 2016/17, guidance and exemplification materials are available in print and online, including detailed supplementary guidance. The process of internal standardisation can also add significantly to the effectiveness and reliability of the overall assessment system.

When any new system of assessment is introduced, outcomes will fluctuate in initial years until the new standards and processes are embedded. It will take time for the new system to bed down and for reliable data to be established and collected.

How will this year's data be used?

The Department of Education has written to Principals and Boards of Governors on this issue. Please refer to the letter using the links provided below.

Department of Education Northern Ireland Joint Letter 336 KB

Department of Education Northern Ireland Joint Letter (Irish Medium) 256 KB

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General

Due to industrial action my school is not sending the levels to CCEA but we have carried out internal standardisation. Can we still claim sub-cover?

Sub-cover/teacher release is intended to allow schools non-contact time for the various aspects of the statutory end of Key Stage 3 assessment process, including internal standardisation, compilation of submissions for moderation, return of level outcomes and reporting to parents. While the Department of Education assumes full compliance with all of the requirements of the legislation, the level of cover required and which aspect this covers is for schools themselves to decide.

Do we have to report levels to parents if we are involved in industrial action?

There is a statutory requirement to report to parents (Education (Pupil Records) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 236/2001). Schools are required to meet the statutory requirements as fully as possible.

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