Assessment: levelling off?


Chris Husbands

On Thursday, OFSTED reported that a quarter of those who secured Level 5 at the age of 11 did not get top grades at GCSE; I blogged on it here.  On Friday, government solved the problem: it abolished National Curriculum levels.  If only all educational challenges could be solved so easily.  I picked up the news on a train returning from a day working with headteachers in Somerset and we were powering across the Somerset Levels, which felt somehow appropriate.

The eight national curriculum levels in use now derive from Paul Black’s Task Group on Assessment and Testing (TGAT) Report of 1988.  It is a sophisticated report, still worth reading, which tried to devise a national assessment system precise enough to give information about pupil progress but flexible enough to recognise that pupil learning is not simply cumulative.  As Black observed, “no system has yet been constructed…

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