Performance Descriptors remit

Michael Tidd made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

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Dear Department for Education,

Could you please provide a copy of the remit given to the experts who were asked to draft performance descriptor statements for assessment of the KS1/2 curriculum (as published in the consultation in the autumn).
I would consider any specific information or guidance given to the experts by the department, either as individuals or as a group, to be relevant under this request.

In addition, could you also provide information on the number/frequency of meetings held by the experts, whether as a whole group or in smaller parties, to compose the draft descriptors?

Yours faithfully,

Michael Tidd

Department for Education

Dear Mr Tidd

 

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your
correspondence has been allocated reference number 2015/0000755.

 

Thank you

 

Department for Education

Ministerial and Public Communications Division

Tel: 0370 000 2288

 

 

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Department for Education

 
Dear Mr Tidd,

[1][FOI #248781 email]

Freedom of Information request - 2015/0000755

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 19^th January 2015. You requested the
following:

Dear Department for Education,

Could you please provide a copy of the remit given to the experts who were asked to draft performance
descriptor statements for assessment of the KS1/2 curriculum (as published in the consultation in the
autumn).
I would consider any specific information or guidance given to the experts by the department, either as
individuals or as a group, to be relevant under this request.

In addition, could you also provide information on the number/frequency of meetings held by the experts,
whether as a whole group or in smaller parties, to compose the draft descriptors?

Yours faithfully,

Michael Tidd

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).

For the 2016 Performance Descriptor drafting process prior to the consultation, STA utilised Independent
Educational Experts (IEE’s); the majority of whom had been involved in the development of the draft National
curriculum key stage 1and 2 test frameworks. These individuals gave support and advice to the process at
different points in the drafting timeline.

The remit, as defined in the contract with each IEE, is provided in Annex A.

Regarding the number of meetings held for each subject, this differed according to the work required. Each
subject had 3 initial drafting meetings, 1 expert review panel meeting and 1 curriculum review panel
meeting.

Between each meeting, further drafting and interim meetings were undertaken. Therefore:

·         Writing had an additional 11 drafting days.

·         Mathematics had an additional 5 drafting days.

·         Science had an additional 3 drafting days.

·         Reading had an additional 5.5 drafting days.

Further internal reviews were undertaken by Departmental staff once the external support had concluded.

If you have any queries about this letter, please do not hesitate to contact me quoting the reference number
2015/0000755 in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the Department
for Education by writing to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be
considered by an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original consideration of your
request. 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the Department, you may then contact the
Information Commissioner’s Office.

Annex A – contract with IEEs

Remit

To support robust and accurate teacher assessment (TA) of a child’s attainment in a subject, the Standards
and Testing Agency (STA) require a set of performance descriptors (PDs) to be developed.

The PDs will detail the expected attainment standard of a child at the end of Year 2 for key stage 1 and at
the end of Year 6 for key stage 2.

Performance descriptors (PDs) for internally marked tests at key stage 1 and externally marked tests at key
stage 2 have already been developed and were published in the Test frameworks. To ensure consistency with
related national curriculum assessments, the TA PDs will be developed in line with the test PDs and the
revised National Curriculum.

Where the teacher assessment of a subject at a particular key stage is used as a national accountability
measure, there will be up to five performance descriptors developed. Where the TA for a subject at a key
stage is not part of the suite of assessments used as a national accountability measure, there will be two
performance descriptors developed, one describing the expected level of attainment and one for low
attainment.

Table 1:

+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Key Stage |Subject |Target number of Performance descriptors required across the |
| | |range of attainment at the end of the key stage. |
|--------------------------+-----------+----------------------------------------------------------------|
|End of Year 2, key stage 1|Reading |Four Performance Descriptors. |
|--------------------------+-----------+----------------------------------------------------------------|
|End of Year 2, key stage 1|Writing |Four Performance Descriptors. |
|--------------------------+-----------+----------------------------------------------------------------|
|End of Year 2, key stage 1|Mathematics|Four Performance Descriptors. |
|--------------------------+-----------+----------------------------------------------------------------|
|End of Year 2, key stage 1|Science |One Performance Descriptor. |
|--------------------------+-----------+----------------------------------------------------------------|
|End of Year 6, key stage 2|Reading |One Performance Descriptors. |
|--------------------------+-----------+----------------------------------------------------------------|
|End of Year 6, key stage 2|Science |One Performance Descriptors. |
|--------------------------+-----------+----------------------------------------------------------------|
|End of Year 6, key stage 2|Mathematics|One Performance Descriptors. |
|--------------------------+-----------+----------------------------------------------------------------|
|End of Year 6, key stage 2|Writing |Five Performance Descriptors. |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+

The PDs will be designed for use by teachers when making statutory teacher assessment judgements of a
child’s attainment in a subject at the end of a key stage. The PDs will also be used by moderators to ensure
teacher assessment judgements within moderated schools are consistent with the nationally agreed standards,
as described in the PDs.

IEEs will be assigned PDs to develop (for either key stage 1 and / or key stage 2) based on their

o specific subject specialism; and
o previous involvement in the production of the test performance descriptors.

IEEs will work in groups, a minimum of 2 IEEs; to jointly develop the PDs.

The suites of performance descriptors for TA are to be derived from the documents listed below:

·         National Curriculum – programmes of study

[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...

·         National Curriculum – Framework & Attainment targets

[3]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

·         National Curriculum – Test performance descriptor

[4]https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...

Services to Be Provided

The services that are to be provided for this project include those listed below:

1.    Provide professional input and judgment to produce (draft and final) documents containing the required
number of PDs, in the agreed format, for each assigned subject and key stage. Taking into consideration:

·         Feedback from all expert/ review groups and STA technical reviewers in determining the most
appropriate format, style and content for each PD.

·         Feedback gathered from the school based ‘dry run’ in 2014/15 in determining the most appropriate
format, style and content for each PD.

2.    Actively participate in the following meetings/ events:

·         Meetings 1, 2 and 3 for the drafting and refinement of PDs with other IEEs.

·         Attendance at any expert and/or review groups (as directed by STA).

·         Final pre-publication editorial workshop to finalise the materials to be published by STA.
 
·         Any other meetings as required by STA.

The IEE shall at all times bring to bear the full breadth of his/her knowledge of and expertise in the
relevant subject and key stage and use his/her best endeavours to provide clear and compelling Outputs.

Outputs

Draft, and final, versions of a document (in the format requested by STA) containing a single set of
performance descriptors for each subject and key stage. The content of each PD will be compliant with the
requirements set out in the derivation documents listed in this schedule.

Provision of records which support and document the decision making process for determining the content,
pitch, format and style for the developed PDs.

Performance/Quality Criteria

Quality criteria 1: The IEE shall attend all requested meetings on time and for the full duration and
actively participate in each meeting as required by the terms of reference for that meeting.

Quality method 1: Monitoring of meeting attendance and participation by STA project team.

Quality criteria 2: Each PD produced should be of the required format and structure, including meeting STA
style guide and accessibility guidelines. All PDs must be written on a supplied STA formatted word document,
and in a form that requires no further interpretation or editing.

Quality method 2: Each performance descriptor will be reviewed by the STA project and communications team to
ensure adherence to format and style guidelines.

Quality criteria 3: Each PD should draw clear reference to the content of the documents detailed in section
3 of this document and build on the content of the test PDs by describe characteristics of performance that
could only be assessed by teacher assessment and not be assessed in a test format. The IEE group will
provide clear documentation detailing reasoning and decisions in determining the PDs.

Quality method 3: Each performance descriptor (and where appropriate the supporting decision logs) will be
measured for compatibility against the documents listed in derivation by the expert/ review groups
(including the curriculum review) and STA technical reviewers.

Quality criteria 4: Each PD should provide sufficient detail to enable teachers to reliably assess children
as either meeting or not meeting the expected attainment standards where there is only one PD or to support
the appropriate classification of children where there is more than one PD. In determining this requirement
IEEs should:

Quality method 4: Each performance descriptor will be reviewed by a group of known educational experts,
serving specialist teachers and individuals involved in the development of the revised curriculum to
ascertain their usability for practitioners. The final PDs must have taken account of all reasonable
feedback from the Expert group and Curriculum reviews, to ensure the PDs produced are useable by teachers
and practitioners.
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2015/0000755. If you need to respond to us, please
visit: [5]www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

John McRoberts

John McRoberts
Standards and Testing Agency
[email address]
[6]www.gov.uk/dfe

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References

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2. https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
4. https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...
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6. http://www.gov.uk/dfe