Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language
My ambition is for Wales to become an international leader in using digital technology to raise attainment, support lifelong learning and promote bilingualism. I am therefore pleased to announce the availability of the new Numeracy (Reasoning) online personalised assessment which will help to achieve high standards and aspirations for all. This completes the suite of on-demand assessments that teachers can use throughout the year to support and inform their teaching and progression planning in reading and numeracy.
The online Numeracy (Reasoning) assessments are innovative in design, ground-breaking and unique to Wales. Wales is the first country to offer a national standardised numerical reasoning assessment in a single system on a national scale which combines features including: an adaptive learner-led format; delivery wholly on-screen with automatic marking; the use of ‘hints’ when learners need support in reaching a solution; reporting that is formative in purpose; and progress shown on a single scale across multiple years for both individuals and specified groups of learners.
The introduction of our new Curriculum for Wales in September marks a significant shift in the role of assessment at a school level. Schools and settings will develop assessment arrangements to enable each individual learner to progress at an appropriate pace, ensuring that they are supported and challenged accordingly. In readiness for Curriculum for Wales, the online personalised assessments have been introduced as a tool to support this new approach to assessment and to help raise standards in reading and numeracy skills.
Under the new arrangements, a wide range of assessment approaches will be used to build a holistic picture of the learner. As part of this, when planning learning and supporting learner progression, practitioners are encouraged to give full consideration to the information on skills identified by the personalised assessments, alongside other classroom-based information.
Personalised assessments are available for schools to schedule at a time they consider most beneficial for their learners and as part of their wider assessment arrangements – and schools have the option of using them twice in order to review in-year changes and progress in their learners’ skills. The information from the assessments supports schools in planning progression in the cross-curricular skills essential for learners to access the breadth of a school’s curriculum. And I would like to emphasise here that the purpose of the assessments is to support learner progress; they are not designed or intended to be used for accountability purposes at any level.
Assessment feedback can be used by teachers to support individual learners on an ongoing, day-to-day basis by helping to develop an understanding of strengths and possible next steps in key skills areas, and an understanding of progress over time, and in turn shared with parents and carers. Group reports are also available to schools so that teachers can review skills and progress at a group or class level. Moreover, the Numeracy (Reasoning) assessments, once completed by learners, provide teachers with a specially commissioned bank of resources and engaging activities to develop learners’ proficiencies.
The cross-curricular skills of literacy, numeracy and digital competence are and remain mandatory within a school’s curriculum. Developing and ensuring progression in these skills will be the responsibility of all practitioners, across all curriculum areas, and the personalised assessments provide schools with the digital tools to support them in this task.