Assessment Without Levels

From September 2015, the Government made a huge change in the way children in schools are assessed. This ties in with the New National Curriculum that has been used by all schools since September 2014. This is a new way of thinking for schools, and means that assessment now looks very different to how it has done for the past 20 years.

The End of Curriculum Levels

So why are levels disappearing?  The DfE wants to avoid what has been termed ‘The level Race’ where children have moved through the old National Curriculum levels quickly to achieve higher attainment. The old National Curriculum was sub-divided into levels, but these were not linked to their national curriculum year group. For example, a child in Year 4 could be a Level 3 or even a level 5. Children were achieving Level 5 and 6 at the end of Key Stage 2, but the DfE thought that a significant number were able to achieve a Level 5 or 6 in a test—but were not secure at that level. The feeling from the DfE was that the old national curriculum and the levels system failed to adequately ensure that children had a breadth and depth of knowledge at each national curriculum level.

Assessing Without Levels

We have spent a long time researching various different methods of assessing pupils. Almost all of the systems use the same format, which is similar to the system used in the Early Years Foundation Stage. This takes the end of year expectations for each year group and splits this into the following categories as follows; for example in Year 4:

  • Y4 Emerging
  • Y4 Emerging + Yet to be secure in the end of year expectations
  • Y4 Developing
  • Y4 Developing +
  • Y4 Expected Secure in the majority of end of year expectations
  • Y4 Above expected
  • Y4 Significantly above expected Significantly exceed expectations for their year group

Below is a grid with descriptors and explanation of each standard:

Year Group Expectation

Descriptor

Working on P Scales

Emerging

Is working on a personalised curriculum to suit the child’s individual Special Educational Needs.  Is working significantly below their chronological age.

Significantly Below Expectations

Emerging + standard

Is only able to access the curriculum with heavily personalised support and scaffolding.  Is frequently doing different tasks from the rest of the class and is receiving additional interventions to help support their learning.

Below Expectations

Developing standard

Is able to access the correct curriculum (for their year group) but has significant gaps in their learning, often requiring additional support or scaffolding.  Additional interventions are required to help embed learning, and guidance is usually required to help them to apply their learning.

Developing + standard

 

Is on track to meet some, but not all, of the end of year expectations.  Is able to learn new concepts and is starting to apply their skills independently, but not consistently.  They may make errors but will usually be able to improve their work following feedback and support.  They may have some smaller gaps in learning.

At Expected standard

Is on track to meet national expectations for their year group.   They are almost always successful in understanding the key learning and are able to apply their skills in a range of contexts, making very few errors.  They can often explain or justify their ideas.

Above Expected standard

Is on track to exceed national expectations for their year group in a number of skills, demonstrating skills and knowledge beyond the curriculum.  They can consistently apply their skills in a range of contexts and can synthesise (combine) and evaluate other’s ideas and their own effectively.

Significantly Above Expected standard

Is on track to significantly exceed national expectations for their year group in all skills, demonstrating significant skills and knowledge beyond the curriculum.  They can consistently apply their skills in a range of contexts and can synthesise (combine) and evaluate other’s ideas and their own effectively

Key Stage Expectations

Key Stage 1

It is anticipated that the majority of children will reach the assessment point of Year 2 expected, a smaller number of children will reach Year 2 exceeding, and a small number will be Year 2 emerging, or possibly Year 1 exceeding/expected/emerging.

 

Key Stage 2

It is anticipated that the majority if children will reach the assessment point of Year 6 expected. Similar to Year 2 there will be some children who may be Year 6 exceeding and some children who are Year 6 emerging. There may also be a small number of children who are still working at a lower level e.g. Year 4/5 exceeding/expected/emerging.