Changes to the KS2 curriculum
Key Stage 2 defines part of the National Curriculum for pupils in year three through to year six, typically pupils aged between seven and eleven. The curriculum for KS2 has remained unchanged for a number of years - covering language and literacy, mathematics and the arts - but as of September 2014 it underwent a number of significant alterations.
The changes put more focus not mathematics and English, demarcating each into various subgroups. The tests at the end of the three years focus on each new group:
- English Reading - reading material and answer book
- English Grammar, spelling and punctuation - Paper 1, short answers
- English Grammar, spelling and punctuation - Paper 2, spelling
- Mathematics Paper 1 - arithmetic
- Mathematics Paper 2 - reasoning
- Mathematics Paper 3 - further reasoning
Results of the new KS2 tests will be given in scaled scores - this scoring system takes into account the difficulty of the exam: a scaled score of 50 on a hard exam might well be equal to a 70 on an easier exam. Scaled scores are designed to allow for easier comparisons between groups of pupils over time.
The lowest possible score in this scaled system will be 80, while the highest will be 120. The expected score for each child will be 100 or over, with anything lower being considered a fail.
Not all current year 6 students will take a science SAT - those who do will sit a physics, chemistry and biology paper. While it may sound ambitious for eleven year old pupils to be talking individual science exams, the difficulty levels are certainly appropriate for this age group, as the following sample questions show:
- Physics: `Predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, based on which way the poles are facing`
- Biology: `Describe the differences in the life cycle of a mammal and an amphibian`
- Chemistry: `Group a list of materials according to whether they are solid, liquid or gas`
Schools participating in the KS2 science exam will be selected in May 2018. Changes to Key stage one and two are not common - many see them as the bedrock of the education system. Key stages were first formulated in the 1988 Education Reform Act, as part of the inception of the National Curriculum. There are six Keys stages in all, covering the entire span of the pre-university education range. When introduced they were simply intended to classify and demarcate the education levels of different age groups of pupils, and specified very few changes to long standing teaching practices.
Key stage zero covers nursery, or reception as it is sometimes termed, applying to children aged 3-5. Key stage one covers infant school, with pupils aged 5-7. Key stage two applies to Junior school, for pupils aged 7-11. Key stage 3 begins in secondary school, for pupils aged 11-14. Key stage 4 applies to GCSE s, where pupils are aged 14-16. Key stage 5 concerns sixth form (also called Further Education), with pupils aged 16-19.