You will have heard about ‘Life without Levels’ in the press. As part of reforms to the English National Curriculum, the old assessment system of ‘levels’ was removed last year and was not replaced. Schools were tasked with the challenge of developing an assessment system that enabled us to check what pupils had learned and whether they were on track to meet expectations at the end of the key stage, reporting regularly to parents.
We embraced this challenge. After many years of running an assessment system that was confusing and bore little relation to a child’s chronological age, we welcomed these changes. At DESS we saw it as an exciting opportunity to review our assessment and reporting systems to create a more holistic approach that makes sense to parents. We were very clear that whatever assessment tool we used, it needed to be robust and track pupils’ progress across the whole school and not just at the end of a Key Stage.
In developing our new system our first principle was to hold on to aspects of assessment that aim to measure what we value rather than simply valuing what we are able to measure. Secondly, we acknowledge that there are two distinct types of assessment used by the school:
- Assessment for learning (Formative Assessment). This helps to identify the next steps needed to make progress.
- Assessment of learning (Summative Assessment). This is more associated with judgments based on grades and ranks and with public accountability, not only here but also in the UK.
Rest assured that our teachers are fully trained in the art of identifying the next steps in a child’s learning journey. Now, more than ever, assessment will be effectively used to ensure the correct scaffolding is built into lessons to ensure all children achieve.
Lastly, and very importantly, we are aware of our obligations to provide regular information that enables you to support your child’s learning. By reading this booklet and attending these workshops you are, yet again, confirming your partnership with us to ensure that your child develops their true potential.