Assessment Without Levels: Lessons from Last Term
This article was first published in December in my termly SIMS assessment newsletter which you can sign up for here.
What Is Everybody Else Doing?
I’ve visited lots of schools since September and almost every school has asked me this question quite early on during our meetings. Assessment without levels means that most school are looking for a sense of direction from other schools, which is understandable. There’s also an assumption that other schools must be further ahead that your own. Local authorities and SIPs seem similarly (and perhaps typically) uncertain.
Don’t worry. Capita did a survey earlier this month which underlined the impression I’d received from my visits: the majority of schools haven’t done anything to replace the old systems and more than a quarter of schools (28% to be precise) haven’t even made a decision. In total 78% of schools had either made no plans or felt totally unprepared for life without levels. You can see the full results of Capita survey as an infographic here.
What Are The Options?
There are many systems springing up to take the place of levels and all of them are based on age related expectations. Here’s a list of systems that I’ve discussed with my schools and successfully translated into SIMS assessment manager systems:
- Assertive Mentoring (Primary)
- Focus Education (Primary)
- Chris Quigley Milestones (Primary)
- Michael Tidd Key Objectives (Primary)
- NAHT Key Performance Indicators (Primary)
- Trinity Academy’s Mastery Pathway (Secondary)
- Durrington High School’s Growth and Thresholds Model (Secondary)
The systems above provide a range of different solutions. Some make a very direct link between old-style sublevels and the new age related expectations, others actively discourage making any links between the two. When developing a new system it’s wise (and surprisingly difficult) to make sure that you’ve not just re-invented sublevels. Michael Tidd provides some excellent (and honest) advice on his ‘Ramblings of a Teacher‘ blog. Read it before you start developing your own system!