The DfE's information on assessing without levels

At the NCTL 'Seizing Success' conference on 13 June 2013, the Secretary of State spoke about schools’ ongoing assessment under the new national curriculum:

As part of our reforms to the national curriculum , the current system of ‘levels’ used to report children’s attainment and progress will be removed.  It will not be replaced.

We believe this system is complicated and difficult to understand, especially for parents. It also encourages teachers to focus on a pupil’s current level, rather than consider more broadly what the pupil can actually do. Prescribing a single detailed approach to assessment does not fit with the curriculum freedoms we are giving schools. 

The new programmes of study set out what should be taught by the end of each key stage.  We will give schools the freedom to develop a curriculum which is relevant to their pupils and enables them to meet these expectations. 

Schools will be able to introduce their own approaches to formative assessment, to support pupil attainment and progression. The assessment framework should be built into the school curriculum, so that schools can check what pupils have learned and whether they are on track to meet expectations at the end of the key stage, and so that they can report regularly to parents. 

Ofsted’s inspections will be informed by whatever pupil tracking data schools choose to keep. Schools will continue to benchmark their performance through statutory end of key stage assessments, including national curriculum tests. In the consultation on primary assessment and accountability, the department will consult on core principles for a school’s curriculum and assessment system.

Although schools will be free to devise their own curriculum and assessment system, we will provide examples of good practice which schools may wish to follow.

Outstanding schools and teaching schools have an opportunity to take the lead in developing and sharing curriculum and assessment systems which meet the needs of their pupils. 

We are continuing to work with the National Association of Head Teachers to support schools in the development and implementation of this new approach. We will also work with subject associations, education publishers and external test developers to signpost schools to a range of potential approaches.


formative assessment, key stage 1, key stage 2, ofsted, summative assessment

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