Assessment without levels – Challenge and opportunity!

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Probably like many other experienced Key Stage 1 teachers, I had reached a point in my career where assessment was almost second nature. I could look at a piece of writing and quickly and confidently judge it as a Level 2b, 1a or 3. And know what was missing and what was needed to improve on it.

However, since the assessment shake up and the end of levels, the cosy rug has been pulled from beneath my feet and I am starting over again. Attending standardisation meetings, getting used to the new jargon, doubting my own judgement and asking colleagues ‘What do you think?’ repeatedly.

It has been even harder with the introduction of the new curriculum bringing new demands and much higher expectations than before. Teachers are assessing a new curriculum using a new system. Then there are the different point scales that schools can choose to use.

Some of us may not like change because we like what we know. We are comfortable with what is familiar. This change is a huge challenge but it is also an opportunity.

It will make us rethink and refocus. It will help us to remember the whole point of assessment; to find out what pupils know, identify gaps and misconceptions and plan our future teaching accordingly. Change can be fresh and exciting, as we want the deeper learning experiences for all our pupils to be.

Ultimately, whether a pupil is a Level 2b, a point 6 or expected, I look at them as an individual child and strive to ensure they reach their potential as I am sure all of us teachers do.

Natalie Musker is a Primary school teacher at The Sylvester Primary School.