Book Review: Assessing Beyond Levels, by Clive Davies @focuseducation1

Review written by @Ezzy_Moon

Earlier this year many schools had been eagerly awaiting publication of the Assessment Commission Report. However, despite originally being due in the summer term it was unfortunately delayed until the end of August, prompting much discussion among staff rooms and SLT’s that suddenly found themselves approaching the end of the year with no clear assessment guidance to help transition to the next.

AssessingBeyondLevels_Book_CD1For those who are unsure of how they could proceed to a life without levels, Clive Davies has developed a model that is not too dissimilar yet offers a more staggered gradient of development. If the old levels are a line graph, Clive’s system can be considered a scattergraph which allows more flexibility in measuring learner development. All terms are clearly defined and the system covers years 1-6 across English, Maths and Writing.

Assessing Beyond Levels works to a points system with some overlap between years. Instead of retaining a level of attainment during transitions such as ‘3c’ as it used to be, this system proposes eight stages per year ranging from ‘Outside’ to ‘Exceptional’, with each stage at various year groups being assigned a point score. A benefit to the similarities is that parents will still be able to understand their child’s progress.

Interestingly, I’ve had experience of Davies ideas at two of my previous schools. At the first, he was delivering an INSET in January 2013 and staff were enthused by the ease with which ‘Assessing Beyond Levels’ could be implemented – for teachers, this is a big positive (particularly now term has begun). The second school developed their own variation of Clive’s model whilst waiting for the county assessment to be developed.

Although upon first glance it may look like levels without levels, I think this model is worth considering because it does allow a broader fit for measuring by ability, rating highly for usefulness and efficient implementation. Assessing Beyond Levels provides all that is needed to ‘hit the ground running’ with regards to developing a new system and would, in my opinion, be a good option for schools who are still using ‘the old levels’ but need to make moves towards something new.

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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