This is an exploratory discussion document. I wrote it to try to understand more clearly the current situation. I am open to persuasion and will take on board evidence-based amendments.
The transition from old to new
The original policy design for levels-based assessment was simple and elegant. This helped ensure its longevity throughout a period of constant policy churn. (I was present when it was first described at a meeting of TGAT over 28 years ago)
But it was eventually overloaded by a bolt-on superstructure of short-term progress targets. These, combined with the pressures of high-stakes accountability, brought about the problems delineated by the Commission on assessment without levels.
But the downside to the removal of levels, entirely ignored by the Commission, is too readily swept aside.
There were substantial advantages, not least for parents, in having a single national system applied consistently throughout their children’s education…
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