Mark Schemes: Proficiency In English

If you'd like to use this mark scheme, please contact us to switch it on for you.

From September 2016, schools are required to record EAL pupils' level of proficiency in English, using a best-fit judgement on a five-point scale. (Source, p63 and p144)

Each pupil will receive one grade for their EAL level, combining their reading, written and spoken language proficiency:

A = New to English

May use first language for learning and other purposes. May remain completely silent in the classroom. May be copying/repeating some words or phrases. May understand some everyday expressions in English but may have minimal or no literacy in English. Needs a considerable amount of EAL support.

B = Early Acquisition

May follow day to day social communication in English and participate in learning activities with support. Beginning to use spoken English for social purposes. May understand simple instructions and can follow narrative/accounts with visual support. May have developed some skills in reading and writing. May have become familiar with some subject specific vocabulary. Still needs a significant amount of EAL support to access the curriculum.

C = Developing Competence

May participate in learning activities with increasing independence. Able to express self orally in English, but structural inaccuracies are still apparent. Literacy will require ongoing support, particularly for understanding text and writing. May be able to follow abstract concepts and more complex written English. Requires ongoing EAL support to access the curriculum fully.

D = Competent

Oral English will be developing well, enabling successful engagement in activities across the curriculum. Can read and understand a wide variety of texts. Written English may lack complexity and contain occasional evidence of errors in structure. Needs some support to access subtle nuances of meaning, to refine English usage, and to develop abstract vocabulary. Needs some/occasional EAL support to access complex curriculum material and tasks.

E = Fluent

Can operate across the curriculum to a level of competence equivalent to that of a pupil who uses English as his/her first language. Operates without EAL support across the curriculum.

The N code for Not Yet Assessed should be used if you have not yet had time to assess a pupil's proficiency. This should be limited to pupils who have joined the school close to census day or are not in regular attendance from January onwards.

Once an EAL pupil has been assessed as fully proficient in English (code E – Fluent) it will not be necessary for the school to continue to re-assess the proficiency of that child on an ongoing basis. However for all proficiency levels below fluent it will be expected that schools should continue to monitor proficiency on an ongoing basis to ensure adequate levels of EAL support are provided to support the child’s education.

From September 2016, the common transfer file (CTF) used to transfer the educational record of pupils moving school will include the full history of proficiency in English assessments performed by schools since September 2016. For this reason it may be worth keeping these assessments in SIMS, or your MIS, rather than in Insight. However the Proficiency in English mark scheme does allow you to make the best-fit judgements above if helpful.


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