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Moving away from levels has been harder than many schools initially thought. The notion of regular progress through the curriculum at prescribed paces has proved difficult to shift. When secondary schools have extrapolated GCSE grades backwards or primary schools have adopted similar grade based scales, this has often created levels in another name.

The purpose of this unit is to challenge preconceptions colleagues may have about progress and assessment. By introducing some key concepts in assessment, this unit should help you and colleagues to come an initial understanding about the science of assessment and the purposes of assessment in your school.

Aims and objectives

Participants will:

  • understand more about key ideas in assessment, and demonstrate knowledge on areas such as formative and summative assessments and construct validity
  • be able to agree the purpose for different assessments in your school
  • be able to survey current strengths and weaknesses in your school’s assessment system and identify how it could be improved.

Unit contents

Review and change beliefs

  • Challenge preconceptions about progress and the purpose of assessment.
  • Discuss tensions between summative and formative assessments and how to confront these.
  • Agree directions for assessment without levels in your school/organisation, and equip staff with knowledge of key concepts in assessment such as construct validity.
  • Survey your school’s current strengths and weaknesses in assessment in order to develop your approach.

Unit content

Unit 1: Moving away from a levels mindset