National Curriculum levels removed and not replaced

(56 Posts)
mrz Sat 15-Jun-13 14:23:06

"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."

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/nationalcurriculum2014/a00225864/assessing-without-levels

mrz Sat 15-Jun-13 14:23:39

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.

Tiggles Sat 15-Jun-13 14:38:11

Do I understand that right, that schools will now create their own levels? How would that work with national reporting and comparing of schools? Guess it stops comparative parenting.

ipadquietly Sat 15-Jun-13 14:56:21

'The new programmes of study set out what should be taught by the end of each key stage'

But their drafts set out a detailed curriculum about what should be taught in each year, and didn't exactly suggest that there would be 'freedom to develop a curriculum which is relevant to their pupils and enables them to meet these expectations'.
????? confused

spanieleyes Sat 15-Jun-13 15:30:15

So if we have a curriculum which sets out, for each subject, what should be taught in each year, then the next step will be to test each subject at the end of each year. Perhaps tests you pass or fail since we won't have levels. And what happens if you don't "pass" a year? Hmm,

Periwinkle007 Sat 15-Jun-13 15:44:17

? well that will be interesting then. nice for teachers as children move between classes and schools too.

Periwinkle007 Sat 15-Jun-13 15:44:59

how are ofsted going to measure then if they currently look for a certain level of improvement per child?

learnandsay Sat 15-Jun-13 16:54:24

The current driving test, in particular the theory part, is difficult for people to understand too, especially for non drivers. So the government has decided to do away with that too and now individual drivers will be able to choose what aspects of road safety they wish to focus on.

juniper9 Sat 15-Jun-13 17:04:00

But schools will stick to levels in reality, won't they? We've spent years trying to implement ways of tracking data between ks1 and ks2 as it was picked up on in our last ofsted. I can't imagine we'll just chuck the assessment folders out of the windows (although I would really like to. Might be a health and safety concern, actually).

soapboxqueen Sat 15-Jun-13 17:07:29

Maybe they will level a child using their year group if the curriculum is based on objectives a child should reach by the end of that year. So a year 3 child would get a 3 for reading, writing and maths if the were at the expected levels. An average year 4 child would have 4s across the board. A bright year 4 might get 5s across the board if they are wishing at objectives from the year above.

Just a thought.

soapboxqueen Sat 15-Jun-13 17:08:30

*working at objectives

not wishing

sittinginthesun Sat 15-Jun-13 17:20:20

I can't get my head around this. What if you have a year for who is currently a 5b in maths? Effectively working at a high year 6 level? Will they just measure by year?

AbbyR1973 Sat 15-Jun-13 19:11:26

Will children be assessed nationally at year 6/ year 2 (I know year 2 is a teacher assessment but papers are still sat.) If you have a national exam based assessment then you have to have a national scoring system. If you don't have a national assessment what is the solution at year 6 to help with streaming in the secondary education that follows. Also how do you compare performance between primary schools at exit level, what has the school added to its intake.

Feenie Sat 15-Jun-13 19:38:30

Steady on, there wasn't enough room on the back of the fag packet he scribbled it on to fit in that level of detail. grin

mrz Sat 15-Jun-13 19:40:07

I predict new tests in Y2, Y4 & Y6 based on the curriculum content with every child expected to be at the same point at the same time wink

Feenie Sat 15-Jun-13 19:41:36

I predict most schools clinging to levels anyway!

Euphemia Sat 15-Jun-13 19:42:25

This is the system in Scotland. We have Early Level, First Level and Second Level and no sub-levels within those, other than assessing whether pupils are Developing, Consolidating or Secure within each curricular area.

mrz Sat 15-Jun-13 19:45:34

That is similar to EYFS in England Euphemia

ipadquietly Sat 15-Jun-13 19:48:23

I can't square 'freedom within the curriculum' with the new drafts.
Unless the aim is that every school will be an academy by then and the draft curriculum will be scrapped.

Feenie Sat 15-Jun-13 19:50:59

You are right - makes v little sense atm. From previous changes, I get the impression that no one at the DfE really knows either.

Euphemia Sat 15-Jun-13 19:51:46

We do PIPS testing in P1, P3, P5 and P7, but otherwise there is no formal testing at primary level. Not prescribed by the government, at least.

Hassled Sat 15-Jun-13 19:53:18

I just don't understand how this will work. I don't understand how you can assess or monitor pupil progress effectively without those yardsticks.

ipadquietly Sat 15-Jun-13 19:58:01

Euphemia I thought the Scottish assessments could be done at any time as a summative assessment of an individual child's attainment? Or has it changed?

BabiesAreLikeBuses Sat 15-Jun-13 20:00:00

I'm not sure Mr Gove understands it either.
My head said he'd been told we were moving to assessing in a similar way to foundation with either meeting, not meeting or exceeding goals.
Glad we've spent so much time learning how to level and setting upba tracking system based on this.
It seems that the government would like all our little automatons children to achieve exactly the same at the same time, no better, no worse.

Euphemia Sat 15-Jun-13 20:02:27

In England you're used to having those yardsticks, which are explicit to parents.

In Scotland, teachers assess as they go along, and don't make public their findings. Parents are welcome to enquire how wee Jeannie is getting on, but they're used to not receiving assessment results so most don't bother, as long as their child is happy at school. I hope parents trust us to do our jobs!

School admission is not competitive in most parts of Scotland, so no need for league tables based on assessment results. League tables exist for secondary schools, based on S4, S5 and S6 exam results, but not for primary.

In my opinion, there's much less stress for pupils and parents!

Euphemia Sat 15-Jun-13 20:04:00

ipadquietly That used to be the case under the 5-14 curriculum, but since Curriculum for Excellence came in those tests have been scrapped.

ipadquietly Sat 15-Jun-13 20:18:48

What assessment do you use now?

OddBoots Sat 15-Jun-13 20:21:01

I wonder why they'd want to remove any quantifiable evidence of the results of their changes to education. hmm

Euphemia Sat 15-Jun-13 20:26:17

We use formative assessment day to day, and a summative assessment of our own devising at the end of a topic.

AbbyR1973 Sat 15-Jun-13 20:52:54

Euphemia- out of interest how does the system in Scotland identify those children that are performing in excess of expectations for their age and make sure they have continued to progress. While I have no particular attachment to any one form of assessment, as a parent I want to know that my child's abilities (or otherwise have been identified) and that he has progressed.
I would like to see a system that concentrates on bringing the best out of all children. One disadvantage of the current system is that essentially it encourages schools to focus on all children making the expected/ average level. In a poorly performing school it can mean that pupils with ability in an area can get a bit sidelined. The OFSTED report made it clear that many schools are failing "clever" children. I suspect that this is not a fault of schools per se but rather a reflection of the emphasis on the current system. I would like to see a system within state schools that ensures academic rigour is present also for the most advanced pupils and that all pupils are encouraged to achieve to the best of their abilities.

ipadquietly Sat 15-Jun-13 20:58:47

euphemia What criteria do you base the summative assessment on?

Euphemia Sat 15-Jun-13 21:34:26

The Curriculum is broken down into Experiences and Outcomes, which in turn are expressed in terms of Intended Learning. We write our own Success Criteria and assess individuals according to those.

For example, from First Level Maths:

Outcome:
"Using technology and other methods, I can display data simply, clearly and accurately by creating tables, charts and diagrams, using simple labelling and scale."
Intended Learning:
Know the key features and correct layout of tables, charts and diagrams.
Discuss and agree on the best way to display data they have gathered.
Use a simple scale.
Understand and use key vocabulary associated with data displays.
Etc., etc.

We use On Track With Learning for planning and assessment: all of the above plus the Success Criteria are input, and each pupil assessed at the end of the topic: red (Developing), yellow (Consolidating), green (Secure).

We also add "Next Steps" for each pupil, indicating what they need to do to improve, or to progress.

We are required to provide evidence of progression, which can be summative assessments, work in exercise books, our learning walls, pupils' own statements, photographs, etc.

Inclusionist Sat 15-Jun-13 21:34:28

I am a senior member of staff in a very large state primary school and I have a 2.5yo.

My DS will be going to an independent prep. I want them to stretch him to the extent of his ability and trust that they will. I don't expect any formal consideration of his ability until Y6 when he may or may not enter for the pre-tests of selective senior schools.

If formative assessment does not suggest he is super-selective school material he will not undergo any summative assessment until CE in Y8.

In my state school (which 'requires improvement') we summatively assess every pupil every term and still our pupil tracking is questioned.

ipadquietly Sat 15-Jun-13 22:36:05

Very similar to new early years criteria in England, euphemia.

(Gove goes back to Scottish roots?)

learnandsay Sat 15-Jun-13 22:40:36

Private schools can select their pupils in ways that most state schools cannot. They also have more discretion over what they teach. I don't think the two can be compared really, they're so different.

learnandsay Sat 15-Jun-13 22:42:56

It's a bit like trying to compare the SAS, which is highly selective, with the infantry, which isn't.

ipadquietly Sat 15-Jun-13 22:52:24

I think the statement that 'many schools are failing clever children' is ridiculous, looking at my local area.
Wilshaw said that many non-selective schools fail clever children - i.e. those who attain L5 in Y6 don't always go on to get A/A* at GCSE.

I live in a selective area. It is a fact that most children enter grammar school at L5. In my nearest Grammar, nearly 50% of pupils are only getting a B at GCSE in English.
Selective education is so successful.

learnandsay Sat 15-Jun-13 23:26:07

Success at GCSE is rated from A-C, so if a huge proportion (say 100% as happened with two Kent grammars last year) achieve A-C, then that is viewed as a sign of great success, no matter if all pupils received B grades for English.

ipadquietly Sat 15-Jun-13 23:48:14

Not according to Wilshaw. He said that children were failing if they got L5 in Y6, schools had 'failed them' if they didn't get A/A* at GCSE.

learnandsay Sat 15-Jun-13 23:54:22

Surely there's a difference between saying something and having any hope of delivering it. Kent clearly has the ability to deliver 100% A-C in two of its schools, by selecting pupils and teaching well.

Has any system delivered 100% A/A*, and if so, what system was it?

ipadquietly Sat 15-Jun-13 23:58:39

100% A-C is normal for a grammar, L&S.

But this is what is expected of a Level 5 child:

'Ofsted's definition of "most able" is children who achieve level 5 or above for both reading and maths in Sats tests at age 11. To fulfil "potential", they should get an A* or A in both English and maths at GCSE five years later.'

Therefore, selective schools are failing bigtime (according to Ofsted).

learnandsay Sun 16-Jun-13 00:39:58

I haven't been able to check all Kent grammar school for all results from last year, but of the 32 grammar schools (that I've seen listed) only two report 100% A-C last year.

ipadquietly Sun 16-Jun-13 00:45:14

Same in Bucks, L&S. I wondered why Wilshaw targeted the non-selectives with his comments about L5 children not reaching 'potential'.
Hidden agenda?

Inclusionist Sun 16-Jun-13 06:24:00

Announcement to follow: Free schools may be selective.

Methinks.

Um...(in Kent, as entrance is on VR, nVR, and maths) Dc at highly selective grammar may enter at 5 or 6 for maths, but 3 or 4 for English, and therefore a B may be on track.

JoyMachine Sun 16-Jun-13 08:08:45

I think the selective school discussion is sidetracking main issue, however in our areas the selectives get 99-100 % A*-C each year, the majority at A*-A. They are super-selectives though, and the number trying for each place is ridiculous!

I am shocked at the removal of NC levels, and it really worries me how they will expect school to demonstrate progress, however I had a 'vision' of this coming when gove continued to force forward the free school/academy programme- if schools can be exempt from the NC, then they wouldn't be reporting outcomes in the same way, whcih effectively makes it impossible to compare 2 schools, which is what he wants, to eliminate the farce 'parental choice' has created in the admissions system.
When all schools in England are equally poor, parents will finally go back to just sending their children to the nearest one!

OddBoots Sun 16-Jun-13 09:28:56

There seems to be no room for understanding that if children are intensely pressured to get high grades in Y6 they might not cope so well with the same pressure when they are in the more difficult time of adolescence. Progress can never always be linear in real life human beings, as good as the teachers are the children aren't and shouldn't be robots.

daftdame Sun 16-Jun-13 10:12:58

Won't academies be able to choose whether they follow National curriculum anyway? With the new History Curriculum a lot of teachers would be keen for this option (from what I have read).

If they 'opt out' NC levels will be meaningless. Maybe there will be more academies.

MilkRunningOutAgain Sun 16-Jun-13 10:28:58

Personally I dislike the whole level business and chasing after progression, my experience is narrow, 2 kids and 1 village state primary, but it all seems stressful for teachers and pupils, and sometimes contrived. Yr 5 son's idea of writing an essay is based on getting lots of different tricks into 1 side of A4, ie simile, short punchy sentence, clauses, ill iteration, etc. it makes for very stilted reading. As a Child I was taught English well, but was not so surrounded by the very evident need to improve with written aims and achievements for every bit of work. Yr 2 kid is just stressed by the idea of levels and worries about not being good enough. Perhaps it's the school, perhaps it's the kids, I don't pressure them and don't bring up the subject of levels, but both of them do, frequently. From yr r they have both known the reading levels of their classmates and made comparisons. Too competitive for my liking for 4 yr olds.

juniper9 Sun 16-Jun-13 18:18:27

Without national curriculum levels, how will mumsnetters be able to boast about their toddlers being level 6? They'll have to just rely on reading colours.

Panzee Sun 16-Jun-13 18:24:13

I want to hate this but I'm quite excited at the (admittedly small) prospect of being freed from assigning numbers to children.

Panzee Sun 16-Jun-13 18:26:32

What I mean is, I don't trust the Government. But if my head teacher told me to just go ahead and teach, and ignore levels, I would snog her.

EvilTwins Sun 16-Jun-13 18:32:15

My Deputy Head is really keen on this idea. I am being teacher's pet helpful and trialling it with my Yr 8 & 9 classes. It works really well. I have put together progress grids for the projects we're doing (in the case of yr8, based in part on the success criteria they have created) and each student is able to see where they are, in terms of skills, and what they need to do next. It's kind of logical, and feels very free. The kids, after one or two "but what level is it?" questions have embraced it. My line manager informed me on Friday that the Deputy wants to see it in action and that if it works, she may well "wet her pants". grin

mrz Sun 16-Jun-13 18:32:33

and with the new curriculum focusing on phonics we could scrap book banding grin

spanieleyes Sun 16-Jun-13 18:53:05

Now, now, mrz, don't get carried away, how would mumsnetters boast about how clever/gifted/able their child is if they don't have book bands and levels to boast about!

juniper9 Sun 16-Jun-13 19:58:08

Maybe they could all boast about how much Latin their children can recite, or how much Chaucer they understand.

When's the next cabinet reshuffle?

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