The introduction of our new Curriculum for Wales in September marks a significant shift in the role of assessment. Schools and settings will develop their own assessment arrangements for each individual learner to progress at an appropriate pace, ensuring that they are supported and challenged accordingly. In readiness for Curriculum for Wales, personalised assessments have been introduced as a tool to support this new approach to assessment and to help learners to make progress in their reading and numeracy skills.
Under the new arrangements, a wide range of assessment approaches should 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 about the learner.
The new assessment arrangements will be forward-looking, with a focus on identifying where a learner is in their learning, their next steps and the support needed to move forward in their learning. The personalised assessments, for years 2 – 9, are designed to support individual learner progression. They are for formative use, giving practitioners and learners an insight into the reading and numeracy skills of the learner and an understanding of strengths and areas for improvement.
The personalised assessments are adaptive, with questions presented based on the responses to previous questions. This means that learners can show the extent of their skills in the assessment, and practitioners can see where they are on the continuum. Each learner’s assessment helps them develop their skills through understanding what they can do, the things they may need to work on, and their next steps.
Personalised assessments are available for flexible use throughout the year for schools to schedule at a time they consider most beneficial as part of their assessment arrangements. Practitioners can use a suite of reports to help them plan next steps in skills development.
The recent addition of personalised assessments in Numeracy (Reasoning) support understanding of learner progression in numerical reasoning skills. They show how well learners can apply their procedural skills to solve numerical problems, and these assessments are accompanied by teaching resources to support next steps.
The Numeracy (Reasoning) assessment is the final assessment to be made available in the suite. Like the other assessments, it is available throughout the academic year so schools can schedule at the best time to support teaching, learning and progression.
Personalised assessments are statutory during this school year and will continue to be so under Curriculum for Wales. The relevant sections of the Personalised assessment administration handbook for 2021-2022 explain the requirements, and also that schools have flexibility to decide whether or not individual learners take the assessments on well-being grounds, and the flexibility to use professional judgement to decide whether year 2 learners should take the Numeracy (Reasoning) assessments.
Detailed practical information on scheduling and delivering the assessments (including checklists), and on accessing reports, is available in the user guide (via Hwb user login) on the assessment website.
A series of Professional Development webinars have been created for practitioners and can be found at Repository – Hwb (gov.wales)
A Written Statement outlining that the full set of online assessments are available for use in schools and how the assessments link to the Curriculum for Wales from Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language can be found here