To attain Age Related Expectations (A.R.E.) in writing children need to produce cohesive pieces across a variety of genres. These pieces must include ALL of the grammatical features listed below. Unlike the ‘levels’ which they replace, A.R.E. are an ‘across the line’ system of measuring progress, not a ‘best fit’, so a child must demonstrate accurate use of every item on the list. Therefore, if any of these features cannot be clearly identified in the collection of writing, (even one item) the child will not achieve A.R.E. Furthermore, each one must be demonstrated in several different pieces of work.
Many teachers argue that the focus of these requirements diminishes the quality of the writing since no value is ascribed to ‘voice’ – that is the style and cohesion within the writing and its composition. Locally, Hampshire guidance consistently directs teachers to focus all writing tasks on a specific audience and to write for effect, but this is not explicit within national guidance and assessment materials. I do not believe grammar and ‘voice’ need to be exclusive (i.e. it is possible to apply the required grammar content within an excellently crafted piece of writing) but the assessment focus has moved clearly and significantly towards a deeper command of grammatical tools, the application of which the learner will further develop in secondary school.
97% of my class achieved A.R.E. in writing this year (against a national average of 76%). My books were moderated and moderators agreed with all of my judgements.
These links show exemplars of typical quality of A.R.E. writing.