Without Levels- The Journey
Why the changes were made at a National Level:
'Too often levels became viewed as thresholds and teaching became focussed on getting pupils across the next threshold instead of ensuring they were secure in their knowledge and understanding defined in the programmes of study. Depth and breath of understanding were sometimes sacrificed in favour of pace.'
Final report of the Commission of Assessment without Levels, J. Mackintosh CBE, Sept 2015
The new assessment system
The new curriculum signalled not only a shift in content but also the expectation placed upon pupils became considerably higher across Key Stages 1 and 2.
As a result, the new, more rigorous curriculum, means it is not possible to have an exact correlation between a level that was the outcome of the old National Curriculum assessment and the requirements new National Curriculum, this means a shift in thinking and in the way we assess our children’s outcomes.
‘Assessment without levels gives schools the opportunity to develop their own approaches to assessment that focus on teaching and learning and are tailored to the curriculum followed by the school.’
Final report of the Commission on Assessment without Levels, J.Macintosh CBE, September 2015
As a creative, forward-thinking school, Longford Church of England Primary School looked upon the changes as an exciting opportunity to review our assessment and reporting systems to create a more holistic approach that gives a clear indication of what is expected of our learners along with providing more clarity for parents about exactly what their child can do.
Assessment at Longford Church or England Primary School
The principles that underpin our assessment system are:
Teachers at Longford have the mindset, ‘What do I need to do next to enable a child in my class to achieve?’
Learning is assessed against Learning Objective Statements for each year group, some of which are identified as Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) These KPS's are objective which MUST be achieved for a child to be assessed as being at the expected stage for their year group at the end of the year.
Well-planned creative teaching sequences across the Curriculum and contextualised (where possible) in Maths will be carefully scaffolded using the NC objectives, leading to assessment of the KPI’s
Children will make age appropriate progress – the focus will be on moving learners through each year group at the same rate to ensure learners leave each year group at age expected or exceeding this.
In order to be ‘secondary ready’ children need to meet the required end of Year 6 KPI’s; We use the KPI’s to assess outcomes for children at the end of each curriculum year – for example:
A child that has achieved all the KPI’s set out for Year 3 for English would be said to be working at the expected level for English at the end of year 3. A child achieving half of the mathematics KPI’s for Year 5 would be classed as working below the age-related expectation for Maths.
Ongoing assessment through each lesson having clear learning objectives, mini-plenaries, carefully planned questioning and reasoning opportunities and other assessment for learning strategies will be effectively used to ensure the correct scaffolding is built into lessons to ensure all children achieve.
Children will know what they are being asked to learn and more importantly, why. They will become increasingly confident when discussing their learning (including their useful learning mistakes)
Regular feedback both written and verbal between the teacher and learner.
An individual Assessment document for each child for Reading, GAPS, Writing and Mathematics allows the teacher and learner to know what has been achieved and the child’s next learning steps
Triangulation of data, evidence in books and pupil voice
More able children
Rather than moving onto the next year’s curriculum, the focus for these children will be on ‘mastering’ their knowledge through the application of skills in different contexts – they will be deepening their learning.
The depth and application of a child’s learning is an important marker of their achievement and progress.
Early Years - Nursery & Reception
Children in Nursery and Reception will continue to be assessed against the Prime and Specific areas of Learning in the EYFS profile. Assessments will be based on observation of daily activities and events. At the end of Reception for each Early Learning Goal, teachers will judge whether a child is meeting the level of development expected at the end of the Reception year:
Emerging, not yet reached the expected level of development
Exceeding, beyond the expected level of development for their age
Reporting to Parents
Discussions at parent, teacher, consultation meetings in the Autumn and Spring terms will be based on whether their child is on track to be at the age expected level by the end of the year. The Summer term written report will explain whether or not the child has reached age-expected expectation and will detail the KPI’s achieved or needed to reach age-expected. It will also state whether a child is:
Below the age-related expectation
At the expected level
Exceeding the expected level