The teaching of primary languages has been increasing steadily, in response to the future entitlement for all Key Stage 2 (KS2) pupils aged 7-11 to learn a foreign language by 2010. However, there remain concerns about progression both within KS2 and through to secondary school and about how learners' progress is assessed. This paper presents findings on the issues of progression and assessment taken from case studies which formed part of a project funded by the then Department for Education and Skills (DfES), now the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). This project set out to evaluate 19 local authority (LA) Pathfinders in England that were piloting the introduction of foreign language learning at KS2 between 2003 and 2005. Findings revealed that there was inconsistency between schools, even within each LA Pathfinder, in the use of schemes of work and that assessment was generally underdeveloped in the majority of the Pathfinders. In order to set these findings in context, this paper examines the issues of progression and assessment in foreign language learning in England. Finally, it investigates the challenges English primary schools face in terms of progression and assessment in the light of the new entitlement and discusses implications for the future. Managing progression, both within KS2 and through to secondary school at KS3 (ages 11-14), is one of the key factors in determining the overall success of starting languages in primary school
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