Sunday, 3 November 2013

Levels: tracking attainment or supporting progression

After reading through the tweets that arose from this tweet I start to see why a lot of people are happy with the demise of levels.

I am really upset that levels have gone in the new national curriculum. I used 'identify, describe, explain, use key ideas, link key ideas' in the first 7/8 years of my teaching career, and now I use the APP grid.

However, I am not using the levels to report on the attainment of students but to help them progress. And I am very confident it works (for me).

I see and accept all the possible issues around using levels in reporting and the inconsistency from one teacher/subject/school to the next. However, I still want level descriptors to help me understand the increasing complexity of the work I set students and their explanations of it.

I know many readers will say that I can still use the APP grid or 'identify, describe, explain, use key ideas, link key ideas' as nothing us stopping me, others will use SOLO taxonomy etc.

The issue that concerns me is what will everyone else do? Are heads of department expected to understand the progression in challenge of ideas individually in order to separately support their staff in knowing how to improve the work if their students?

Maybe it is intuitive to everyone else, but as a student teacher and NQT it was not to me. It also wasn't to the AST I worked with in 2006, to who 'identify, describe, explain, use key ideas, link key ideas' was something she learned outside our school and brought it back to us. (I was astounded as I knew from my previous LA advisor). It wasn't to those who developed a key stage 3 scheme in my previous school either.

My question is this: without level descriptors how will teachers successfully support the progression of their students? And don't say 'SOLO taxonomy', a) isn't that just levels without the numbers and b) how will everyone know it is there as a tool?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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