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Assessment Frameworks & Levels

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National Curriculum Levels were brought for primary schools in 2014. In Years 2 and 6, children take SATs exams and given a “level” in Reading, Writing and Maths. It takes approximately 2 years for a child to progress through a Level, so schools should expect students to follow the below path:

Year 2 – Level 2

Year 4 – Level 3

Yaear 6 – Level 4

At the end of Year 6 approximately 75% of children achieved a Level 4, the top 10% a Level 5 and the top 1% a Level 6.

The Government removed the “Level Descriptors” from the National Curriculum in 2015 and schools have established their own system to suit their children. The Government’s reasoning can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/assessment-after-levels, but could be summarised as they believed the Levels were vague, did not give a true picture of attainment and encouraged a tick box exercise rather than deep subject knowledge.

So schools up and down the country each have their own Assessment framework.

Assessment frameworks should include the method of assessment beyond the SATs, the phonics test and the Multiplication Tables Check such as:

  • continuous assessment by the class teacher;
  • three way feedback – pupil, peer and teacher; and
  • work review/scrutiny.

The DfE did setup a Commission on Assessment without Levels to identify and share best practice. Their report can be found here and perhaps is the best document to use when constructing an Assessment framework.

What we see are a number of schools using the following terms (or variations) for their students:

  1. working below expectations/Emerging;
  2. working towards expectations/Developing;
  3. meeting expectations/Secure; and
  4. securely meeting expectations/Greater Depth.

These can be further clarified by “not yet taught”.  Some schools are wrap these up as “Ladders” in “Passports”.

These terms indicate that the DfE wants children who are meeting expectations to have more opportunities to develop their skills, rather than progressing to the next year’s content. This approach is reflected in the “Mastery” and “Depth” terminology that is applied.

However, these terms look an awful lot like Levels.

So did the Government simply admit that the Levels could not be evenly applied nationally (what is one teacher’s view can be different from another’s) and allow schools to use comprehensible names for the Levels?

In any case, teachers need data/evidence that helps colour their view of a student’s performance to help communicate with parents and help devise the next learning activity.

Emile programs are great at motivating students to learn using games and competition, but also deliver to teachers information on how students are performing compared to their peers in the class but also nationally. To see how your students are doing and to see them make rapid improvement for only £45 please try Emile with your class by clicking here.

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