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Assessment in the new National Curriculum – 'Life After Levels'


o Why is this change happening?

This change comes about because the Government introduced a new National Curriculum from September 2014. They decided that levels would be removed but not replaced, with schools left to determine their own assessment framework. 

o Why have we chosen the STAT Sheffield approach? 

The Sheffield Assessment Project started as an attempt to create a Sheffield solution to the issue of how to approach 'life after levels'. Over a hundred professionals from more than fifty schools collaborated to develop the 'STAT Sheffield' materials, which were quality assured and shared with national bodies. The NAHT Assessment Framework was developed with the Sheffield project team and can be used alongside these materials. The project will continue to refine the materials, based on classroom feedback, and develop new resources to support teachers. This school, along with hundreds around the country, have chosen to use these resources because they will support teachers to plan and assess the new National Curriculum. The grids that teachers use will support progress but ensure that children embed key learning at each stage of attainment.

o How will teachers make judgements about attainment? 

Teachers will use planning and assessment grids. The child's attainment step will be determined by the proportion of the appropriate curriculum they have mastered. The grids, which can be found on the STAT Sheffield website, include some Key Performance Indicators which children must master before they can move on. This prevents gaps in learning developing.

o What will assessment look like across school this year? 

Assessment in FS2, Y2 and Y6 will be the same as previously, although at the end of the year teachers will use the STAT Sheffield materials to put the FS2 and Y2 children onto the new scale ready for the following year. In Y1, Y3, Y4 and Y5 teachers will be assessing against the new curriculum and using the STAT Sheffield materials to determine the attainment step.

o How will we measure achievement? 

This will be difficult to do until there is national data to inform the amount of progress across a year or a key stage that should be expected. Governors will need to maintain their focus on the statutory assessment points (FS2, Y2 and Y6) and each school will need to decide, based on its own context, what its expectations/targets will be. It may be helpful to focus on the proportions of pupils at age related expectations and the progress required to reach the ARE proportion that the school requires in its context.

o What are the main implications for Governors?
  • Governors will need to understand how the school has made the transition to the new system and how it is being used in school.
  • The new curriculum is harder than the old one, so children will start lower down the scale.
  • It will take time for teacher assessments to be as accurate or as consistent as they were previously, whilst teachers become more familiar with the new criteria and new materials to support them in making judgements are developed.
  • It will be hard to describe progress until we have national data to inform judgements about what constitutes good or better progress.
  • Performance Management systems will need to be considered.


o What will replace the levels?

Attainment steps, as described on this page, will replace the levels. Children progress through the steps as they master more of the National Curriculum statements. During the KS1 and KS2 stages of attainment children enter, develop and then become secure with the statements for each year group in turn. As before, this may not necessarily be when they are in that year group.