Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME)

ACME response to the Department for Education consultation on performance descriptors

10 February 2015

ACME has responded to the Department for Education consultation on performance descriptors for use in Key Stage 1 and 2 statutory teacher assessment for 2015/2016.

ACME outlines the following principles for performance descriptors in the response:

  • Performance descriptors should support assessment for learning mathematics in the classroom as a key lever to raising standards. They should reflect the National Curriculum aims, thus encouraging connections between topics and the development of reasoning. They should identify the key ideas in that stage of learning, which enable students to progress to the next key stage.
  • Performance indicators should help teachers to fine-tune their understanding of learners' needs and tailor their planning and teaching accordingly. Performance descriptors should not encourage teaching to the test or put undue pressure on learners.
  • The purpose of performance descriptors is not only for summative assessment but also to inform teachers at the next key stage of students' readiness for the next key stage. Performance descriptors for mathematics should not restate the programme of study, but rather should summarise what needs to be tested at the end of a key stage.

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