Life Without Levels

Moving from ‘Current Levels and Tick Boxing’ towards ‘Projected Grades and Pathways’

With the removal of Key Stage 3 National Curriculum Levels there is now no national strategy for KS3 assessment or national expectation for 3+ / 4+ levels of progress. With this in mind we have developed a new Key Stage 3 assessment model that builds on Key Stage 2 and prepares students, parents and staff for Key Stage 4.

What’s more, this system can effectively tracks and monitor student progress so that underachievement can be clearly identified and addressed rapidly.

In addition, this model avoids subjective labels such as ’emerging’ and ‘securing’ which could stigmatise some students during their time at school (who wants to be labelled ’emerging’ for 3 years?!…and what does emerging actually mean to the student?!). Instead, objective labels which relate directly to the projected GCSE grade are used. This way a student, from the start, is made aware of their likely GCSE gradings and as a result can immediately work hard to either maintain or improve their chances of achieving well.

‘KS3 Progression Routes’ Model

KS3 Routes Pathways Model

KS3 Assessment Model Explanation

This model sees the removal of TARGET LEVELS and introduction of PROGRESSION ROUTES. For example ‘Route 34’ means that the student on this route is ‘on course’ for a grade 3 or 4 at GCSE in a given subject.

The language used with students and parents would be: “you are on ‘Route 56 in Computer Science’, on course for a GRADE 5 or 6 at GCSE Computer Science”.

Summative Assessment should be made every term and reporting/assessing should use ‘above’, ‘on’, ‘below route’. Those who are ‘below’ will be a clearly defined group for intervention.

Departments should therefore have clear ‘topic assessment criteria’ for ‘each route’ and for ‘each year group’.

Routes should be reviewed at the end of each year and at the end of Key Stage 3

As the government now use AVERAGE Key Stage 2 results to determine progress for ALL subjects it is important to base a students initial ‘Route’ at the start of KS3 on this result. However, it is equally important to baseline students in each subject so that students who excel in a particular subject are not stifled by being placed in a route that may not match their true ability.

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