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Primary teachers: is your school abandoning levels?

(53 Posts)
straggle Thu 20-Feb-14 22:52:07

This feels like a massive change which has not had much publicity:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-26176780

I'm a parent but would appreciate it if teachers could tell me how their school is preparing for this. I'm confused about what this means for SATS and how secondary schools are going to measure 'progress' to KS4. Is this just another opportunity for Gove to allow privatisation of the school curriculum? Have I missed a good thread on this?

mrz Fri 21-Feb-14 07:44:30

There will be a new National Curriculum from September which doesn't fit with the current level system. The government in their wisdom have decided not to produce a new assessment model but to leave it to schools (and publishers are no doubt rubbing their hands in glee).

New SAT tests are predicted to be based on percentile ranks rather than levels.
I've also seem assessment models very like the EYFS profile - emerging - expected - exceeding year group expectations.

tiredbutnotweary Fri 21-Feb-14 08:13:37

This document explains it all rather well I think, including the new approach which was vaguely outlined by the gov.:

www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/publications/99940/99940.pdf

I do not know what weight, if any, the NFER carry, however to me the issue is summed up in this sentence:

Concerningly, it is difficult to see exactly how this new approach will be easier to understand. In essence, it dislocates the link between the reporting of achievement and the learning that has taken place.

I'm hoping some people decide to map the new curriculum to a level type framework (not that tricky perhaps, seeing that each year group does have clear objectives for the main subjects at least). The changeable feast suggested (assuming I've understood) seems a step-backwards to me.

AbbyR1973 Fri 21-Feb-14 08:14:56

The problem with having EYFS emerging, expected and exceeding levels is they don't really cover the range of possibilities or tell you much about progress, particularly towards either extreme if the ability range.
Eg a very bright child could enter a year exceeding expectations and would finish also exceeding. It does not tell you if they have progressed during the year and if anything has been "added" by the school during the year. Similarly a child with SEN could enter a year emerging, make a huge amount of progress in terms of their individual ability but still be labelled emerging at the end of the year. Less good schools will realise this and focus their efforts entirely on the middle range to improve their apparent outcomes because nobody will ever realise the brightest and struggling children are being failed, because such a system simply doesn't measure their progress.
Exceeding and emerging does not provide enough differentiation in my opinion.
Percentile ranks doesn't feel right particularly for very young children and again doesn't really demonstrate individual progress.
I would think the information that most parents want is that which demonstrates that their individual child is progressing. Levels, aren't perfect, but at least I feel like I know what it means and is a means of showing year on year progress being achieved.

mrz Fri 21-Feb-14 08:29:36

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-26176780

www.naht.org.uk/EasysiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=37799&type=full&servicetype=Attachment

straggle Fri 21-Feb-14 09:34:19

Thanks, I'll read that NAHT link later.

I just don't understand how progress can be judged in secondary schools without them. Or how Nick Clegg can justify norm referencing at 11 but criterion referencing at 16, beyond admitting he isn't a teacher and that prep school simplistic class ranking approach is all he knows.

Gove has been so prescriptive about the content of the national curriculum but has no idea how to assess whether it has been understood. I don't understand how in the league tables decide level 4b is 'secondary ready' if they then abandon levels. They obviously don't care if pupils will be oven secondary-ready and don't want to know in future.

RiversideMum Fri 21-Feb-14 11:13:48

I thought the govt was offering £10k to schools to come up with assessment systems that they would be able to share? With ofsted now obsessed with accelerated progress, I'd be interested to see what people come up with.

lljkk Fri 21-Feb-14 11:19:45

Percentile system in yr6 & at yr11 would enable comparisons & progress tracking.
Whether those are good systems is another question!!

mrz Fri 21-Feb-14 11:26:09

I imagine lots of posters have grown up with levels whereas oldies like me remember a world before they were introduced ... and children still made progress!

columngollum Fri 21-Feb-14 11:56:08

Long ago the 11+ was fairly universal. That was the big test.

straggle Fri 21-Feb-14 12:02:50

But that was before league tables, GCSEs, academies or even Ofsted. It was a time of O-levels and CSEs (which we are seeing again in the form of GCSEs/BTECs). Percentile ranking can't really be compared with two levels of progress or moving from 5c to a B at GCSE - you could be ranked in the fourth percentile on year or the fifth in the next with exactly the same test score if it's norm referenced.

Does that also mean levels will go at secondary school? And explains all this talk of having common entrance exams?

duchesse Fri 21-Feb-14 12:06:33

I don't know how on earth any of us learned anything in the days before reports, lesson plans and schemes of work bristled with references to levels and attainment targets.... hmm

mrz Fri 21-Feb-14 12:53:03

No we had GCSEs before NC levels and we also had Her Majesty's Inspectors

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Fri 21-Feb-14 13:02:38

Levels are also going at secondary, yes. To be replaced by what we like.

My favoured system spells out a swear word or two if you write it down the page.....

straggle Fri 21-Feb-14 13:06:39

It was before a national curriculum though. There's no sense in having one without assessment standards to go with it.

Does it mean they will have to abandon their attempts to force primaries to become academies? There will be no floor targets without levels to assess against.

lljkk Fri 21-Feb-14 13:17:54

wait.. does this mean no Yr6 SATs? Otherwise, how would y6 SAT results be reported if not in the usual league table way NC numbers etc.?

mrz Fri 21-Feb-14 13:20:52

There will be Y6 tests just not levels

mrz Fri 21-Feb-14 13:21:21

and it looks like tests at the beginning of reception

lljkk Fri 21-Feb-14 13:25:45

Gotcha.. getting it. DS currently in yr5 so he would be affected by changes.
I really don't care except it would be nice to have some clue what the numbers mean when handed to us.
I can handle percentiles but I honestly think they are much more confusing to innumerate Jo Public than the NC level system has been. If only 4a/4c had been renamed "High/low level 4 when middle Level 4 is the target for kids at this point in school" then I don't think the present system would be confusing at all.

mrz Fri 21-Feb-14 13:29:11

Children in Y5 will be tested under the current system

tethersend Fri 21-Feb-14 13:37:53

This will make things VERY interesting for those of us monitoring pupil progress across different schools...

lljkk Fri 21-Feb-14 13:40:01

oh... so which age group (what current English yr group) will the first to be affected in the new system? Any ideas?

mrz Fri 21-Feb-14 13:49:32

There will be new tests in 2016

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/276634/Curriculum_and_testing_changes.PDF

lljkk Fri 21-Feb-14 13:55:17

Thanks for that.
Bloody hell that's complicated. Nothing like fixing what ain't broke, eh?
Will affect my youngest, still.

straggle Fri 21-Feb-14 13:58:58

So year 5 teachers and below still don't know how/what they will be assessing English/Maths/Science from September? When will they know?

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