Wednesday, 2 April 2014

I can't live without levels

I am trying to map out progression through the working scientifically ideas, I can't do that without looking back at the work that has gone by on levels and APP.

I can't help thinking about progression of students as being in levels or stages. I can't help but think that there are levels of difficulty in tasks and levels of outcomes to activities.

I have an idea about what I want my students to be able to do at the end of Year 9. How do I get them from the level they are at when they start Year 7 to the level I want them to be at the end of Year 9, but by a series of steps or levels?


  1. Hi Helen,
    This may not be THE problem but I think its A problem. We have been using 'levels' for years and whenever we think of progression we think 'what level?' But under another system we could equally think what colour, what number, what grade, what band?
    The word has come to mean two things: a whole reporting and measuring SYSTEM as well as a STAGE in the progression along a learning path. The learning path is essentially the same as it ever was. The system can go (if you want it to) and be replaced by anything you like - I have no imagination for these types of things but numbers, colours, grades, stages,...?
    I think there is nothing wrong with referring back to APP etc to help put the learning path into a logical order and how we decide / describe where a student is on that path is up to us.
    Yes its ridiculous - how will comparisons be made between schools? How will teachers cope when they move schools? How will we know the capabilities of students moving schools without waiting for them to arrive?
    I predict it will all be standardised again in about 2 and a half years time so don't lose too much sleep :-)

  2. I think APP materials actually did a reasonably good job of mapping out key aspects of progression. Wasn't there also a progression document of some sort in the Secondary Strategies framework?
    I think the important thing is to draw on those materials as well as your professional knowledge. I don't know enough about secondary Science, but I'll use primary English as an analogy. We have boxes of objectives for Writing APP, but actually the average primary school teacher knows what a L4 writer looks like and can summarise it in a handful of sentences. It's those key points that we need to draw out for future progression, in my opinion. Not the full wordy detail of APP, but the key professional understanding that underpins it!