Although this chapter will focus on assessment issues, these will be affected by basic curricular issues so some of these will be discussed. As the National Curriculum is in its early stages, it is necessary first of all to outline some of the basic requirements for the benefit of those in training and those coming new to the profession or returning to teaching.
The National Curriculum is established under the Education Reform Act of 1988. It comprises:
Three core subjects-English, mathematics and science.
Seven foundation subjects-technology (including design), history, geography, modern foreign languages, music, art and physical education.
Along with religious education and cross-curricular themes these provide a minimum curriculum.
In each core and foundation subject there are three components:
Attainment targets (A T) divided into ten levels of attainment (except for art, music and PE). These determine assessment objectives and state what pupils should know and understand, and what skills they should perform.
Programmes of study (POS)-define the teaching schemes syllabus.
Assessment arrangements-to determine what pupils have achieved.
PE, art and music have been treated differently from other foundation subjects and these differences will be discussed below. All the requirements will relate to 4 Key Stages (KS) which relate to approximate ages of pupils and periods of schooling.