Assessment without levels – prologue

My school has produced a first draft proposal for a new assessment framework relating to the new GCSE grades, and looking to move to a system without levels.

The gist of it is: a student comes into school, and based on their prior attainment they’re set a ‘projected grade’. This is the minimum expected GCSE grade (e.g. grade 5).

Teachers will use this to set a professional target.

In each year, the same grading system will be used, so a student should in theory progress from grade 5 in Year 7 to grade 5 in Year 11, with each subject setting the standards against which these judgements will be made.

As I spent some time on my response to this first draft proposal, I thought it would be worth sharing more widely. Below is my response. I’d be interested to know what you think.

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Marking without grades

This is the literature review on p5 of this research report called “Focus on Formative Feedback”, published in 2007.

I’ve posted this so I can refer to it if anyone asks me where the evidence comes from next time I assert that students should not regularly have graded feedback!

In a nutshell:

  1. Meta-analyses have shown negative effects of feedback on student achievement in many cases
  2. This is if the feedback is, for example
    1. Seen as ‘critical’
    2. Linked to grades (that allow students to compare performance with peers)
    3. Vague
    4. An interruption

Link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/44460753/Focus-on-Formative-Feedback

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Ideas to improve learning

[Note: This is the text of an email I sent to the science teaching staff at my school in November 2012, after reading one of the school’s weekly Staff Bulletins containing no references to learning. I am pleased to say that these Bulletins now regularly contain references to learning, and to a new teacher-led Teaching and Learning Forum]

What we want: students who are resilient; who carry a ‘growth mindset’; who feel challenged and motivated; who are happy; and who know how to learn.

What this will look like: students are happy

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