03 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
In 1988, the first National Curriculum was published for state schools in England (Gilliard, 2011). For the first time, the knowledge and skills that were taught to students in each subject were identified within programmes of study. Programmes of Study and Attainment Targets were included for three core subjects (English, mathematics and science) and six foundation subjects (history, geography, technology, music, art, and physical education). At the same time the school year groups were divided into four key stages: Key Stage 1 (5-7 year-olds), Key Stage 2 (8 to 11 year-olds), Key Stage 3 (12-14 year-olds) and Key Stage 4 (15-16 year-olds).
Not long after the introduction of the National Curriculum, the first National Curriculum tests and tasks were introduced. They were based on the content of the National Curriculum, and were intended to assess students’ learning in the three core subjects at the end of each of the first three key stages of schooling. The tests and tasks were piloted in 1991 (Whetton, 2009), although it was not until 1995 that they were implemented for Key stage 2 and Key Stage 3 (Brown et al, 1997; Curtis, 2008).
In addition to the national curriculum, the government has also published national strategies for literacy and numeracy. These were introduced between 1998 and 2001 and covered Key Stages 1 to 3 (Gilliard, 2011; Ofsted, 2003).
Since their introduction, both the National Curriculum and the National Curriculum tests have undergone several reviews and as a result the content of both has been refined and changed. The first review of the curriculum was published in 1993 (Gilliard, 2011). This review recommended changes to both the curriculum and the national tests; the revised curriculum was first taught in 1995. Another review led to a second National Curriculum being published for first teaching in 2000 (QCA, 1999). In 2007 another revision was published for implementation in 2008. The National Curriculum is currently under review again, and a draft of the new curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2 was published in 2012.
During the same period the National Curriculum tests have also been revised several times. Changes have been made to the subjects that are assessed in Key Stage 2, with the withdrawal of science tests. The Key Stage 1 tests have been modified, with teacher-marked assessments replacing standardised written tests, whilst the tests have been discontinued entirely for Key Stage 3 students (Whetton, 2009).
As there have been a number of changes to the National Curriculum, National Curriculum tests and the strategies in a relatively short space of time, for many educational agencies it can be difficult to keep track of the changes that have occurred and the times at which they happened. The lack of a clear timeline and description of the changes can also be problematic for researchers. Therefore, the focus of the enquiry was to carry out a literature review and internet search to identify the key dates associated with these revisions, and to provide a summary of the associated changes.
Brown, M., McCallum, B., Taggart, B. and Gipps, C. (1997) ‘The Validity of National Testing at Age 11: the teacher's view’, Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, vol. 4, no.2 [online] http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0969594970040205 (Accessed 4th September 2012) Curtis, P. (2008) ‘Sats for 14-year-olds are scrapped’, The Guardian, Tuesday 14th October, [online] http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/oct/14/sats-scrapped (Accessed 4th September 2012) Gillard, D. (2011) Education in England: a brief history [online] www.educationengland.org.uk/history (Accessed 4th September 2012) Ofsted (2003) The Key Stage 3 Strategy: evaluation of the second year [online], Ofsted, https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/HMI%20518.pdf (Accessed 4th September 2012) QCA (1999) QCA news 15 Nov 1999, http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20080110000139/http://qca.org.uk/qca_9993.aspx (Accessed 4th September 2012) Whetton, C. (2009) ‘A brief history of a testing time: national curriculum assessment in England 1989 – 2008’, Educational Research, vol. 51, no. 2 [online], http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00131880902891222 (Accessed 4th September 2012)
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