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As 'Show Your Working' test replaces mental maths at 11, what kind of learning are we valuing?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital29 September 2016

Melanie Ehren.
This year the Key Stage 2 mathematics test has undergone some big changes to reflect the new National Curriculum. One was the removal of the Mental Mathematics paper, given for the last time in 2015. It involved a 10-minute assessment, administered by playing a CD, in which 11-year-old pupils were expected to carry out 20 calculations in their heads, given 5 seconds, 10 seconds or 15 seconds for each one, and asked to write down the answer to each question, without access to paper to make jottings for working out.
Instead, last May, in addition to two papers testing reasoning, children sat an Arithmetic paper lasting 30 minutes. It asked 36 questions covering context-free calculations for all four operations, including the use of fractions, percentages and decimals. Squared paper was provided in the answer area, for children to show their working. ‘Working out’ is (more…)

Life after levels: is the new Year 6 maths test changing the way teachers teach?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital19 July 2016

Melanie Ehren
Earlier this month (5 July), the Department for Education published the results of the Key Stage 2 test for 10 and 11-year-olds. The publication was awaited with more anxiety than usual as this year’s test was the first one on the new national curriculum. One of the major changes in the test is the removal of the ‘old’ national curriculum levels 3, 4 and 5, where children were expected to reach at least a level 4. The level 6 paper for the most able children has also gone and results are now reported as ‘scaled scores[1]’. Each pupil now has to achieve at least a score of 100 to reach the expected standard. It seems like a minor change with little impact on how teachers teach mathematics and prepare children for the test, but recent findings from our Nuffield-funded study suggest otherwise.
We interviewed 30 Year 6 teachers in schools performing both below and above the floor standard in Mathematics. Interviews took place prior to the changes in the test in (more…)

Does traditional grammar instruction improve children’s writing ability?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital5 July 2016


Alice Sullivan and Dominic Wyse. 
Children in England have recently taken their statutory tests at age 10-11 (commonly known as Key Stage 2 SATs). The results, published today, show that the pass rate has plummeted compared to last year. This is because the nature of the tests changed dramatically in 2016. We focus here on why the new English tests have been so difficult for children to pass – and why most parents would struggle to pass the tests too.
(more…)

Does developing bad behaviour in primary school affect a child's grades?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital4 September 2015

Praveetha Patalay.
A few mischievous children acting out in a classroom and disrupting an entire lesson is a common scenario that teachers deal with. However, trouble-making children who hit out and misbehave are not only disruptive to teachers and classrooms, they are also likely to get lower grades.
In recent research, my colleagues and I examined the links between the development of problem behaviour in 5,400 children between the ages of eight and 11 from 138 primary schools in England. The children were in Years 4, 5 and 6 – the last three years of primary school and what’s called Key Stage 2. We found that those who developed disruptive behaviour in these three “middle childhood” years did worse in the tests, also known as SATs, at the end of Year 6.
The problem behaviours we looked at in our study were when children got angry, hit out, broke things, hurt people or lost their (more…)