Assessment without levels
Association for Science Education
MetadataShow full item record
Assessment is primarily a matter of judgement rather than measurement, yet for too long the nation has been pretending that pupils' attainment and measurement can be measured in increasingly fine detail (one APS "point" being one sixth of an original National Curriculum level). The lack of validity and reliability of this approach becomes obvious when something as multidimensional as practical work in science attempts to be assessed, yet the forthcoming "bonfire of the levels" in the new National Curriculum in England (DfE, 2013) has left schools and teachers feeling vulnerable and reluctant to discard the "comfort blanket" of numerical tracking systems. Data from the Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project suggest that very few primary schools have yet adapted their assessment approaches to the "post-levels" world, and that most propose to continue levelling pupils during 2014-15, whilst possible alternatives are explored. It is suspected that the situation is similar in most secondary schools, particularly as they prepare for the introduction of the Progress 8 school performance measure (DfE, 2014a), which aims to track the progress of pupils from the end of Key Stage 2 (age 7-11) to GCSE. However, the loss of levels should be viewed as an opportunity rather than a threat, to bring formative and summative assessment closer together and ultimately to find more valid ways of assessing what it means to be a scientist. The TAPS project, based at Bath Spa University and funded by the Primary Science Teaching Schools describe a variety of different systems and methods, often using more than one approach within the same school; for example, using Assessing Pupil Progress (APP) grids to track pupils' scientific skills, whilst employing tests or levelling samples of work to assess conceptual understanding. In this article, the author describes the ongoing work being done by the TAPS Project in cooperation with working groups of science assessment experts such as the one convened by the Nuffield Foundation (2012) to create a whole-school evaluation tool to support schools in identifying strengths and weaknesses in their assessment systems and provide an exemplified model of good practice.
Education in Science
Earle, S. & Davies, D. 'Assessment without levels', Education in Science, 258, pp.30-31.
- Education Research 
Showing items related by title, author, subject and abstract.
How effective is a whole school approach to collorative group work?: the experiences of teachers and pupils in a South Wales co-educational school over a two year programme. Price, Emma (University of Wales Institute, Cardiff., 2009)This research investigation was based within a co-educational 1l-18 school, in the south Wales region, which defines itself as a Learning Centred School. The research is timed within an educational setting where there ...
Davies, Dan; Earle, S.; Collier, C.; Digby, R.; Howe, A.; McMahon, K. (2016)Teacher assessment of pupils’ on-going classroom science work can be a more valid means of judging their attainment than testing, because it can be based on a wider range of evidence; for example, observations, discussions ...
A study into the impact on pupil attainment of the Skills Framework in mathematics at Key Stage 3 in two contextually different south east Wales comprehensive schools. Irvine, Kirsty (Cardiff Metropolitan University, 2012)Significant changes have occurred to the Key Stage 3 curriculum in Mathematics in 'Wales since 2008. These changes have occurred as a result of pupils being insufficiently prepared to enter the world of work. Employers ...