October 2013
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The Black Swan : Life after levels for KS3 history assessment; the hoax has ended

So it’s official. Gove has set it in writing:the levels have gone, hoorah!. Yes, the levels have gone.

Schools must therefore have the freedom to adapt their teaching, assessment and
reporting system to suit their needs. We will not prescribe a national system for schools’
on-going assessment. Instead, schools should decide how they assess each subject as
they develop their curriculum.
Groups of schools may wish to use a common approach,
for example across a local area, academy chain or federation.
These common
approaches will allow schools to report on each pupil’s progress set against wider
benchmarks. Ofsted will expect to see evidence of good quality pupil tracking data, but
will not expect schools to keep records of pupil attainment in a specific format

Sounds like a great opportunity has been presented for schools work collaboratively on this. I’m an concerned , however, that some schools are still clinging on to the old levels. This is mad We spend 20 years cursing them and now we won’t let them go.

As ‘the Black Swan’ theory tells us we need to imagine something that we don’t yet know. For my part I’m very clear what we do. Develop a rigorous charting of progression based on what we know about pupils’ understanding in history across the main 5 strands, set periodic diagnostic tasks to check on pupils’ progress in each,( using valid criteria ) and then carefully come up with our view of pupils’ attainment in terms of their relative strengths and weaknesses. None of this spurious pseudo-scientific, counterfeit sub-levelling- one the great professional hoaxes of all time which we’ve been dragged into ,often kicking and screaming by SLT. These last years of sub-levelling have robbed teachers of very precious time. Let us hope we never see their likes again.

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