Yesterday the NAHT released their commission on the removal of National Curriculum levels which will come into effect in September. The release of the report is to “establish an independent commission on ‘assessment without levels’ to consider what lay behind good assessment and to look for examples of good practice already in place or developing in schools.”

Implementing new systems of assessment without National Curriculum levels seems a daunting idea for some, with concerns regarding “how inspectors would react to multiple different assessment systems in place in schools, how progress would be demonstrated and judged, and how attainment would be measured.” The report therefore advises a range of methods for schools to utilise when devising their own policies and procedures for assessment.

Key recommendations from Lord Sutherland include emphasis on the fact that “Pupils should be assessed against objective and agreed criteria rather than ranked against each other”.

The subject of testing is also covered, with the commission’s idea that, although still important, tests are simply one kind of assessment: “Tests are in effect a snapshot of what a pupil can do on that day at that particular time in a specific sample of the curriculum and may or may not be an accurate measure of a pupil’s attainment over a wider period; tests are effective for assessments of certain types of knowledge and less effective for others.”

Assessment is obviously a vital part of teaching, and good teaching requires in-depth assessment in order for pupils to progress. The report therefore advises that “All those responsible for children’s learning should undertake rigorous training in formative, diagnostic and summative assessment, which covers how assessment can be used to support teaching and learning for all pupils, including those with special educational needs.” The commission also recommends that progress in across a broad and balanced curriculum should be celebrated “including sport, art and performance, behaviour, and social and emotional development.”

The Report of the NAHT Commission on Assessment can be downloaded from the NAHT website.

Featured image courtesy of Alberto G.