The government has announced that a teacher-led commission is to be established to enable primary schools to move away from the levels system of assessment.
Speaking at an event hosted by think tank Reform, school reform minister Nick Gibb said assessment using levels was misleading to parents and failed to ensure children acquired a good grasp of the basics. He said: “Levels have been a distracting, over-generalised label, giving misleading signals about the genuine attainment of pupils.”
He went on to cite the success of international schools who do not rely on levels for assessment and who have enjoyed greater success in rankings such as the PISA tests: “What these other nations do, and what effective schools in England do, is focus on the specifics of key areas of the curriculum, and ensure deep, secure knowledge and understanding in these specifics.”
Following the reasoning behind the removal of levels, Nick Gibb summarised the role of the new teacher-led commission: “To help schools as they develop effective and valuable assessment schemes, and to help us to identify model approaches we are today announcing the formation of a commission on assessment without levels.”
Yesterday, the members of the commission tasked with this brief were announced.
The chairman of the commission will be John McIntosh CBE - former headmaster of the London Oratory School
Other commission members are:
Shahed Ahmed OB - Headteacher of Elmhurst Primary School and a national leader of education
Daisy Christodoulou - Research and Development Manager at the charity Ark
Professor Robert Coe - Professor in the School of Education at Durham University and Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM).
Sam Freedman - Director of Research, Evaluation and Impact at Teach First. He was previously a senior policy adviser for schools at DfE between 2010 and 2013.
Mark Neild - Acting Headteacher of Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich, the UK’s first maths and science sixth form
Natalie Packer - Independent special educational needs (SEN) consultant and an associate consultant to NASEN.
Dame Alison Peacock - Executive Headteacher of The Wroxham Teaching School.
For more information on the commission and its members, visit the Department for Education website. For Michael Tidd's response to the announcement visit his blog.
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