Life after levels

Making the most of assessment data

Collecting assessment data is easy – but with so much data available, collecting the right information and ensuring you are using it effectively to support pupils’ learning can be more difficult. Emily Jones explains



No overhaul of primary assessment in sight

The government’s response to the primary assessment consultation was published in September. Primary headteachers are anxious for change. We look at ministers’ plans and speculate on what the new model will deliver


Refocusing your approach to pupil assessment

With major changes afoot in both England and Wales, schools are under pressure to develop effective approaches to pupil assessment. As a new and free resource is published to help, Claire Hodgson offers some evidence-based guidance on how schools can develop their own approaches to assessment


What are the next steps for primary assessment?

Could it be the calm after the storm? 2016 was not an easy year for assessment co-ordinators and their schools. Now Justine Greening offers reassurance that 2017 will be better. But will it? Suzanne O’Connell reports


Assessment chaos: From Baseline to SATs

It has been quite a year for assessment. With a backdrop of parent protests, leaks and anxiety over changing standards, the SATs have been particularly chaotic. On top of this, the long planned introduction of the Reception Baseline was suddenly axed after ministers admitted it couldn’t work. ...


Assessment without levels: Keep it simple

Assessment without levels has caused stress and anxiety for many primary schools, but a simple, stripped down approach that minimises paperwork and focuses on conversations could provide an answer to the assessment challenge. Colin McLean explains



Assessment: Life after levels for SEN pupils

A recent day of discussions between school leaders from across England focused on the impact that the move to assessment without levels might have on vulnerable pupils, especially those with SEN. Daniel Sobel reports on some of the challenges, solutions and conclusions


What does effective assessment look like?

Headteacher Sam Hunter reports from an assessment without levels expert panel discussion featuring four primary leaders and focusing on the key question of what makes for effective assessment practice



Assessment levels: A hard habit to break...

The DfE’s Commission on Assessment without Levels makes it clear – levels needed to go. However, replacing them isn’t proving to be easy. Suzanne O’Connell looks at the messages from the report and the difficulties schools are facing


What ingredients make for an effective test?

What elements make for an effective and reliable assessment? Test developer Catherine Kirkup outlines the key criteria that primary schools should consider when selecting their approaches to pupil assessment


Life after Levels: Stepping Stones

Schools have had to come up with their own solutions to life after levels. Continuing our case study articles, Jo Dormer and Joe Piatczanyn describe the Stepping Stones method that their school has devised


A discussion about levels

A recent roundtable discussion brought together school leaders from both the primary and secondary phases to discuss what works in a world without national curriculum levels. Graham Cooper was there


Life after Levels: FAQs

How have schools responded to the removal of national curriculum levels? Andrew Lifford answers some of the most common questions from school leaders on assessing without using levels


Assessment: Giving pupils the power

Headteacher Rachel Wells explains how her staff team have developed and implemented a new approach to assessment, encouraging pupils to play an active role in analysing their own progress, achievement and next steps for learning


Life after Levels: The next steps

Schools need to take the bull by the horns when planning for life after national curriculum levels. Mick Walker advises on some key next steps


Life after Levels: The key challenges

There are four very good reasons for removing national curriculum levels and five challenges facing us as we move forward. Chris Quigley offers a six-step route map to assessment reform


Now that levels have gone...

Former headteacher John Viner is working with schools to help them get to grips with life after the removal of levels.


NFER Research Insights 2015

Headteacher Update's Research Insights articles, published in conjunction with the NFER, offer in-depth, evidence based advice, guidance and best practice covering a wide range of areas relevant to primary school leadership and education. Download the latest articles from 2015 and 2014 for free ...


Ensuring consistent assessment approaches

Faced with an inconsistent approach to assessment strategies, tests and tracking methods across the school, deputy headteacher Amelia Nelson set out to turn things around. She explains how.


The new reception baseline assessment

In March 2014, the Department for Education announced plans to introduce a baseline assessment for all children at the start of reception. Catherine Kirkup, from NFER’s Centre for Assessment, answers some of the big questions that schools have been asking


Saying goodbye to levels

Will Millard explores some of the new approaches schools are devising to replace curriculum levels


Weighing up the assessment revolution

You could be forgiven for feeling a little dizzy with all the changes to assessment policy and practice, not least the removal of levels. The NFER’s Liz Twist offers a summary of the changes to date and advice on handling the new assessment regime

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