KS2 maths tasks for less able pupils



These tasks are intended as an optional resource, which may be used in support of teacher assessment of pupils working below the level of the end of key stage 2 tests. There are 14 tasks, divided into discrete parts, targeted at pupils working towards or at levels 1 and 2. The different tasks support a broad assessment of number, handling data and shape, space and measures. In addition the tasks cover aspects of Using and applying mathematics.

The tasks are intended to be flexible to administer and are designed for a maximum of four pupils at a time. There is no time limit for the tasks but, on average, they take about 25 minutes to complete. It is possible to do more than one task on any day. The tasks may be administered by the teacher or any support staff who normally work with the pupils in mathematics lessons.

Tasks may be used at any time during the year either as a diagnostic tool to identify areas where further teaching is required, or as a tool to support summative teacher assessment of the pupil's level of understanding.

A single task provides information about a pupil's level of understanding in one aspect of mathematics. Teachers should draw on a range of information from ongoing class work and assessment, possibly supplemented by information from several tasks covering different aspects of mathematics, to judge the overall level at which a pupil is working.



Structure of the tasks

Each task sets out clearly the resources needed and what to do. Some resources for pupils are provided as downloadable photocopy masters, in pdf format. A description of mathematical performance and record of assessment are provided for the teacher.

Resources - as well as the downloadable resources, some tasks also require other resources, which should be readily available in schools. For tasks assessing number pupils should have access to their usual counting apparatus, eg structured apparatus consisting of tens and ones, number lines and number squares. The tasks do not involve the use of calculators.

Description of mathematical performance - in this table there is information about the level at which different parts of the task are pitched. The table provides descriptions of typical responses that characterise performance at a level. It should be noted that perfect performance on a part that assesses level 1 does not provide evidence of attainment at level 2. Later parts of the task will provide evidence of higher attainment. The table also provides references to aspects of the national curriculum programmes of study covered by each part of the task.

Record of assessment - designed to record the achievements of up to four pupils, the record sheet has space to record ticks or more detailed notes about pupils' responses to each part of the task.



Adapting the tasks

The tasks are designed to be accessible to as many pupils as possible. Teachers may adapt them to meet the pupils' needs more specifically.

Possible adaptations include:

  • using tactile shape and number cards
  • simplifying the language, taking care not to use language that indicates the correct response
  • using adhesive to attach materials to a table
  • using mechanical and technological aids, including computers.

Some tasks are presented in the form of a game to increase the pupils' levels of motivation. However, it is recognised that some pupils find playing a game where only one person wins distressing. If you feel that this is likely to be the case you may adapt the tasks to remove references to winning.

Further guidance on administering the tasks to pupils with English as an additional language is provided at the end of this introduction.

It is important that any adaptations do not alter the mathematical demand of a task.



Administering the tasks

Tasks should be incorporated, as far as possible, into normal classroom activity.

Teachers should rephrase instructions if pupils do not understand. You may also provide support if a pupil is unable to complete an earlier part of a task, particularly if you feel that they would be able to complete later parts without assistance. The record sheet has space for you to note any help pupils needed with an aspect of the mathematics being assessed.

As these are practical tasks, pupils are expected to convey their responses through oral or practical means, e.g. speech, sign, writing, gesture, pictures, communication books etc. A wide variety of forms of communication is acceptable.

If pupils respond in an apparently ambiguous or unexpected way, teachers are free to discuss their responses with them, recording an assessment that reflects the understanding shown in discussion. Any part of a task can be repeated with an individual afterwards.



Outcomes of the assessment

There is no requirement for a pupil to complete a certain number of parts of the task before they may be judged to be working at the target level. Instead, you should judge how well overall the descriptions of performance relating to a level fit the pupil's performance. If the pupil does not successfully complete several significant aspects of the task then they are probably not working at the level indicated. If the task assesses more than one level you should refer to the descriptions for both levels to decide which one best fits the pupil's performance. Please note that a perfect performance in the part of a task targeted at level 1 does not provide evidence that the pupil is working at level 2; to confirm performance at level 2 in the topic area you will need to administer the parts that do assess level 2.

Evidence that you record on the record sheets provided for each task will help you when making level judgements for each pupil. You should fill in the record sheet during, or shortly after, each part of a task is completed. The sheet includes spaces for ticks or notes about each pupil's performance on individual parts of the task. You may record any notes that you wish regarding areas of particular success or areas where further teaching may be required. Examples of notes made by some teachers during trialing were: 'not accurate', 'only by guessing', 'no problems', 'correct every time', '2 out of 4 correct', 'needed help for numbers over 4', 'struggled giving change', 'needed help organising piles but able to count up total', 'had difficulties making new shapes'.



References to the national curriculum's programme of study

Programme of study references are presented in the form 1/Ma2 (2a).

The number before the slash indicates the key stage from which the reference is taken, eg 1/ indicates that the reference is taken from the key stage 1 programme of study.

The letters and following number represent the relevant strand of the curriculum, eg Ma2 indicates the Number strand.

The number and letter in brackets refer to a specific paragraph within that strand, eg (2a) indicates Numbers and the number system, count reliably up to 20 objects...

Where a task incorporates aspects of using and applying mathematics these aspects have been identified using the references N1, SSM1 and HD1

Specific guidance: English as an additional language and special educational needs

Pupils for whom English is an additional language
Language staff may support pupils who are learning English as an additional language. The instructions and questions may be translated, and pupils may respond in a language other than English. It is important that no additional interpretation of the mathematics assessed in the task is provided during this translation.

Pupils with hearing impairment and those who use sign language
A variety of forms of communication can be used for presentation and response, including British Sign Language, Sign Supported English and Makaton Vocabulary. Questions should be structured in the best way for the pupil, and care should be taken that signs do not indicate the correct responses or cause confusion.

Pupils may respond orally or in Sign whichever is the best means for them to demonstrate their attainment. Teachers of hearing impaired pupils may reword questions using more familiar syntax and vocabulary if necessary, taking care, however, not to alter the nature of the assessment.

Pupils with visual impairments
All usual low vision aids should be used, and real objects may be used where appropriate. Materials may be enlarged, reduced, cut up, brailled, etc, to increase accessibility for individual pupils. Help may be given to interpret pictures and diagrams, as long as this does not indicate the correct response.

For pupils who braille number responses, if the teacher feels that braille reversals may have been used, an oral check should be made with the pupil as to which numbers they intended.

Pupils with physical disabilities
Some pupils will be unable to write by hand, and the assessments of writing numerals or letters should be conducted using the aids normally used by the pupil. During a task the teacher may lift and / or move apparatus at the direction of the pupil.

Pupils should be encouraged to use any appropriate means to demonstrate their achievements. This could include oral responses, eye-pointing, etc. Computers and other adapted equipment may be used.

Pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties
The tasks may be administered in small sections over a number of sessions to allow for difficulties in maintaining attention.

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Owner: QCDA administrator from Have your say: Optional tests years 3, 4 and 5 discussion group
Date created: 23/04/10
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