A World Without Levels

A World without Levels?
 Provide a context for the session.
 Overview of current literature about assessment
without levels
Case study: what can we learn from the Downlands
experience of working without levels
Use the NAHT Design checklist to evaluate your
schools approach to assessment and begin the process
of constructing a new assessment framework.
What features of assessment do OFSTED expect to
Provide opportunities for professional discourse about
assessment/questions for Tim Leunig…
DfE – assessment without levels
 As part of our reforms to the national curriculum , the
current system of ‘levels’ used to report children’s
attainment and progress will be removed. It will not
be replaced.
 We believe this system is complicated and difficult to
understand, especially for parents. It also encourages
teachers to focus on a pupil’s current level, rather than
consider more broadly what the pupil can actually do.
 Schools will be able to introduce their own approaches
to formative assessment, to support pupil attainment
and progression
 Ofsted’s inspections will be informed by whatever
pupil tracking data schools choose to keep
 Although schools will be free to devise their own
curriculum and assessment system, we will provide
examples of good practice which schools may wish to
Primary assessment and accountability - DfE
 ‘Secondary ready’
 Our ambition is that all pupils, excepting some of those
with particular learning needs, should be secondary ready
at age 11.
For that reason, we will expect a very high proportion of
pupils to reach the new, higher secondary readiness
threshold for a school to be above the floor standard.
Statutory assessment in core subjects at the end of key
stages is crucial for robust external accountability.
We propose to report national curriculum test results using
a scaled score, and compare pupils against the national
cohort by decile.
Awaiting publication of the outcome of the consultation
 DfE website
 NFER – where have all the levels gone?
 NAHT Commission on assessment
 ASCL response to NAHT Commission on assessment
 SSAT: Redesigning Schooling 8: Assessment (due
Spring 2014)
 Importance of a shared understanding of assessment
and a set of agreed principles
 Importance of supporting teachers with high quality
professional development in assessment
ASCL response to NAHT
ASCL believe that levels aren’t perfect but they…
 are understood by the profession, parents and learners
 Profession, parents and pupils comfortable with the
language of levels
 Governors understand level and make good use of the
 have improved transition between Key Stages 2 and 3
 enable schools to be clear about progress
 have been relied on by OFSTED
 retain levels but amend in line with new KS3
programmes of study;
 adopt a commercial package;
 develop an entirely new system as an individual school
or part of a cluster;
 wait until the reformed GCSE content specifications
are published and then devise a new assessment
system for KS3 working backwards from GCSE,
possibly using numbers similar to the new proposed
GCSE grades.
NAHT Commission Feb 2014
 A set of agreed principles for good assessment
 Examples of current best practice in assessment that
meet these principles
 Buy-in to the principles by those who hold schools to
 Also case studies, international snapshot.
Don’t panic
 There will be a mixed economy in most schools as they
see current pupils through the final years of the old
system and engage with the new curriculum. Schools
are advised to evolve new structures, rather than try to
cope with a barren landscape devoid of the old.
NAHT Commission
International snapshot
 Sweden – high degree of trust in school professionals
 Australia – high degree of trust and extensive
Norway – schools accountable to local communities
rather than national authorities
New Zealand – teachers have prime responsibility to
assess learning
Finland – inspections abolished in 1990’s. System relies
on proficiency of teachers
Japan, Korea – teacher assessment
All of the above feature testing as an evaluative
measure using small cohorts of students.
Singapore – as UK
Our context…..
 Low degree of trust in profession
 Movement away from teacher assessment
 Low amount of autonomy
 High accountability
 Target driven (imposed targets)
 Heavily centralised
Case Study – Downlands Community School
 Curriculum Review triggered by weak outcomes and
staff voice led to 2 year Key Stage 3
We wanted to ensure a very robust Key Stage 3
Working parties…
Developing independent and resilient learners
Cross curricular links between subject areas
Reporting and Assessment
Best INSET ever?
Reasons for moving to GCSE grades from yr7
Parents &
pupils relate
better to GCSE
Creates a 5yr
mastery of
& consistency
in standards
End of KS4 GCSE Target grades are shared
with pupils in the Autumn term of yr 7
Lesson objectives are criteria based linking
to GCSE target grades
ARR Focus is on progress to end of ks4
targets (& pupil feedback) reported termly as
Flight paths (progress trajectories) indicate
expected progress each term, this is tracked
back from expected yr11 outcomes.
Fine grades (+/-) show progress within grades
Outcomes can be measured against national
standards that staff are familiar with
Progress Bars – Maths Example
Flight Paths – Progression Trajectories
Flight Paths – Progression Trajectories
The Challenges:
Informing & responding to parent concerns about use of lower
Making GCSE criteria meaningful and appropriate for ks3
(converting NC Levels according to DFE matrix doesn’t work e.g a
pupil working at L7 does not equate to a C grade at GCSE)
Ensuring robust assessment data within a flexible framework
Future challenge is realigning current assessment criteria to new
KS3 National curriculum (Attainment targets By the end of key
stage 3, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the
matters, skills and processes specified in the programme of study.)
& to move to the new 9 point scale when guidance is available.
Test your current
assessment practices
against NAHT criteria
Assessment without levels
 Assessment is integral to high quality teaching and
learning. It helps us to ensure that our teaching is
appropriate and that learners are making expected
 All staff are regularly trained in our approach to
 We have a senior leader who is responsible for
Assessment without levels
 The main purpose of assessment in our school is to
help teachers, parents and pupils plan their next steps
in learning.
 We also use the outcomes of assessment to check and
support our teaching standards and help us improve.
 Through working with other schools and using
external tests and assessments, we will compare our
performance with that of other schools.
*DCS uses GCSE criteria this lends itself to national
comparisons. We can for any year group predict (in
theory) GCSE outcomes at Yr11
Assessment without levels
 We assess pupils against assessment criteria, which are short, discrete,
qualitative and concrete descriptions of what a pupil is expected to know and
be able to do.
*DCS uses progress bars in each lesson with clearly defined success criteria for
each target GCSE grade.
 Assessment criteria are derived from the school curriculum, which is composed
of the National Curriculum and our own local design. (NAHT are working on a
model attainment descriptors)
*DCS criteria are derived from current GCSE syllabi
 Assessment criteria for periodic assessment are arranged into a hierarchy,
setting out what children are normally expected to have mastered by the end of
each year.
*DCS uses personalised flight paths (progression trajectories)
 The achievement of each pupil is assessed against all the relevant criteria at
appropriate times of the school year.
DCS Proposal to publish Assessment timetable for pupils/parents
Assessment without levels
 Each pupil is assessed as either ‘developing’, ‘meeting’ or ‘exceeding’ each relevant
criterion contained in our expectations for that year.
*DCS uses AOB Above – On – Below pinned to expected progression trajectories – this is
not currently tracked against every criteria which the NAHT recommends.
 Where a pupil is assessed as exceeding the relevant criteria in a subject for that year they
will also be assessed against the criteria in that subject for the next year. For those pupils
meeting and exceeding the expected standards, we provide more challenging work.
*DCS pins Lesson objectives to pupils targets. Targets are reviewed each year. If a pupils
target is increased so does the challenge in lessons.
 Assessment judgements are recorded and backed by a body of evidence created using
observations, records of work and testing.
DCS uses pupil trackers to record AOB in Sims that are published to parents online each
 Assessment judgements are moderated by colleagues in school and by colleagues in other
schools to make sure our assessments are fair, reliable and valid. (note E)
*DCS uses national GCSE criteria (or adapted), teachers accuracy in assessment judgements
are tested against these each year through prediction analysis.
Assessment without levels
Teachers use the outcomes of our assessments to summarise and analyse attainment and progress for
their pupils and classes.
DCS Staff update trackers on Sims termly using AOB this informs intervention
 Teachers use this data to plan the learning for every pupil to ensure they meet or exceed expectations.
Teachers and leaders analyse the data across the school to ensure that pupils identified as vulnerable
or at particular risk in this school are making appropriate progress and that all pupils are suitably
DCS AOB data at class level is the focus of line management meetings & regular meetings with
Heads of Year and intervention manager
 The information from assessment is communicated to parents and pupils on a termly basis through a
structured conversation.
DCS Termly performance to target is reported to parents online – structured conversations is an
area for review (Maybe addressed by AFA)
 Parents and pupils receive rich, qualitative profiles of what has been achieved and indications of what
they need to do next.
DCS Marking policy has agreed frequency of marking and the expectation is diagnostic feedback
for each Dept.
 We celebrate all achievements across a broad and balanced curriculum, including sport, art and
performance, behaviour, and social and emotional development.
DCS House system promotes the celebration of positive performance in attendance, sport e.t.c.
there are termly House celebration assemblies – the tracking & acknowledgement of PLTs or an
alternative skill based curriculum needs reviewing.
By Sept 2016
Schools will be expected to
have a robust assessment
system to track pupil progress
• Lesson observations
• Book scrutiny
• Pupil voice* (learning conversations)
• Data sets
• Assessment leader CIEA
• Assessment working party
• Assessment timetable
• Clear link between assessment
data & informed practice

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