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Assessment Without Levels

From September 2014, the Government made a huge change in the way that children in schools are assessed. This was to link to the New National Curriculum that started to be used by all schools at the beginning of this Academic Year. It is a completely new way of thinking for schools, and assessment will look very different to how it has looked for the past 20 years. Hopefully this information will give you some clearer information about how we are assessing children from now on and how it will affect your child in the future.

Curriculum 2014

The main changes to the key core subjects are highlighted below:

English - The new programme of study for English is knowledge-based; this means its focus is on knowing facts rather than developing skills and understanding. It is also characterised by an increased emphasis on the technical aspects of language and less emphasis on the creative aspects. English is set out year by year in Key Stage 1 and two-yearly in Key Stage 2. Appendices give specific content to be covered in the areas of spelling and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. These are set out yearly across both key stages.

Mathematics - The main areas in the new programme of study for mathematics are called domains. These are number, measurement, geometry, statistics, ratio and proportion and algebra. Two of these, number and geometry, are further divided into subdomains. The way that the curriculum is organised varies across the primary age range – every year group has a unique combination of domains and subdomains. There is no longer a separate strand of objectives related to using and applying mathematics. Instead, there are problem-solving objectives within the other areas of study. A lot of the changes to the mathematics curriculum involve content being brought down to earlier years. 


Why are levels going?

The DfE want to stop what has been named ‘The Level Race’ where children have moved through the old National Curriculum levels quickly to achieve higher attainment. The old National Curriculum was sub-divided into levels, but these were not linked to their national curriculum year group. For example, a child in Year 4 could be a Level 3 or even a level 5. Children were achieving Level 5 and 6 at the end of Key Stage 2, but the DfE felt that a significant number were able to achieve a Level 5 or 6 in a test—but were not secure at that level. The feeling from the DfE was that the old national curriculum and the levels system failed to adequately ensure that children had a broad knowledge of all the curriculum requirements for their year group. 


When the DFE announced that levels were to be abolished. they recommended that schools set up their own way of assessing their pupils. At St. Bridget's we are currently using the Warrington School Alliance Assessment Without Levels System alongside Rising Star Assessment. The Warrington Alliance system enables easier transition from the levels system to assessment against the revised curriculum 2014. It enables schools to track attainment against the new age related expectations. The system created also links back to the previous APS/levels system enabling the monitoring and evaluation of progress for all cohorts, groups and individual pupils.

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