Mark Schemes: Proficiency In English
From September 2016 to Spring 2019, schools were required to record EAL pupils' level of proficiency in English, using a best-fit judgement on a five-point scale. More recently, the Department for Education has withdrawn the requirement for schools to report on this.
Each pupil received 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 was used if you hadn't been able to assess a pupil's proficiency. This was limited to pupils who had joined the school close to census day or were not in regular attendance from January onwards.
Once an EAL pupil had been assessed as fully proficient in English (code E – Fluent) it was not 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 was expected that schools should continue to monitor proficiency on an ongoing basis to ensure adequate levels of EAL support were provided to support the child’s education.
From September 2016 to Spring 2019, the common transfer file (CTF), used to transfer the educational record of pupils moving school, included the full history of proficiency in English assessments performed by schools. For this reason we used to recommend keeping these assessments in SIMS, or your MIS, rather than in Insight. While it is no longer part of the census, the Proficiency in English mark scheme does allow you to make best-fit judgements for your EAL pupils if helpful.