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Assessment and the new curriculum

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg

Assessment image - infographic EnglishAssessment proposals will be part of the draft Curriculum for Wales 2022, to be published on 30 April 2019. As the new curriculum is built on progression, supporting learner progression is at the heart of the proposals.

Progression and the Curriculum for Wales 2022

‘Successful Futures’ recommended a change from the current phases and key stages to a continuum of learning from 3 – 16 years old. The new continuum has progression steps, reference points that relate broadly to expectations at 5, 8, 11, 14 and 16 years of age. These progression steps are set out as a series of achievement outcomes, which are broad expectations of learning over two to three-year periods.

A useful article on this blog in June 2018 outlined the principles underpinning progression, and in September an animation on progression was also published to explain the approach.

What is the difference between current teacher assessments and the proposals for assessment to support the new curriculum?

This is a move away from the current system where judgements are made on the overall attainment of a learner in a subject at a specific age through the allocation of a level on a ‘best fit’ basis. The new achievement outcomes for each progression step will not be used to make ‘best fit’ judgements. Instead, they will be used on an ongoing basis to help practitioners decide whether a learner is ‘on track’ with their learning progression.

The aim is to help practitioners gain a clear picture of a learner’s achievements, plan appropriately, identify and seek additional support if needed, and report back to parents. Formative assessment* will have priority under the new arrangements with the focus on ensuring that learners understand how they are progressing and what they need to do next.

The proposals make it clear that assessment is an integral part of learning and teaching and should not be conflated with external accountability and national monitoring activities.

Who has developed the assessment proposals?

An Assessment Working Group has been central to developing the new proposals. Members are from pioneer schools alongside representatives from Regional Consortia, Estyn and Qualifications Wales.

The group, drawing on advice from experts, has developed high-level principles to provide broad direction for assessment at a national level. In doing this, they have ensured flexibility for funded non-maintained settings and schools to plan assessment appropriately to support their curricula at a local level.

The proposals cover six key principles as outlined in the infographic below:

Assessment image - infographic English

What happens after the assessment proposals are published on 30 April?

It opens an important period for engagement with practitioners, with feedback invited until 19 July. As part of the exercise you will be asked for your thoughts on the proposals themselves, how they can be refined, and the support you feel you will need to turn the high level principles into a reality.

The proposals, further evolved following feedback, will form the basis of statutory guidance which schools will have to have regard to when developing and undertaking assessment in the new curriculum. The guidance document will be published in January 2020.


*Formative assessment is mainly undertaken with learners during the learning process to explore how they are progressing and to identify achievements, as well as to identify areas where their learning may need to develop further. This information is then used by learners and practitioners to determine the next steps needed to improve their learning further and to inform practitioner planning. 

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