Best Practice

Are you ready for life after levels?

How is your school approaching life after national curriculum levels? As a new pamphlet offering advice is published, Tom Middlehurst asks the question

The reality of “life after levels” will kick in this September. Among the schools we work with at SSAT, there appears to be excitement, confusion, optimism and anxiety in equal measures.

It is understandable that Michael Gove’s announcement in March – that levels of achievement would not be continued – has not been universally popular. For over two decades now, assessment in schools has been driven by the eight level structure that was proposed by the Task Group on Assessment and Testing in 1987. For the majority of teachers, levels are all they have ever known.

There are some that maintain that national curriculum levels, despite some faults, are generally understood by teachers, students and parents. In a recent SSAT survey, three-quarters of respondents felt that levels at least “somewhat accurately” measured students’ progress and achievement. Then there are those who can’t wait to throw Assessing Pupils’ Progress grids and curriculum level descriptors into the recycling. And there are those who sit back and declare (smugly, but fairly) that, as academies, they haven’t been using curriculum levels for years.

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