And so the performance descriptors loom large!
The DfE has launched its consultation into the new performance descriptors for statutory teacher assessment at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2. And as feared, they are essentially just levels re-packaged. For all the talk about freedom to assess properly, the power of linking assessment directly to the curriculum, and other such bluster, we’ve ended up with simply a re-worked level system for KS2 Writing that includes an extra ‘level’ for us to “measure” against. And a whole host of levels to work with at KS1
Parents didn’t understand levels, apparently. But now we’ve added an extra one they somehow will?
Levels were too vague to be useful for assessment. But now they’ve been re-written with APP-type labels they’ve magically become better?
APP was an unwieldy paperwork nightmare foist on us by an all-controlling government, they said. And so now we have pages of descriptors instead.
The future is coming into view already: cue publishers and other organisations writing equivalent descriptors for each year group, or intervening phases, and across the subjects, and lo and behold we replace the complicated and confusing systems of levels 1 to 6 with a system of vague threshold titles, lengthy descriptions… and before you know it, a whole host of sub-grades to help “show progress” every fourth day.
After all, surely a mixed system of performance descriptors, scaled scores and whatever other categories they come up with will be confusing – it’s all but inevitable that we’ll end up with the lowest common denominator in too many cases.
Levels are dead. Long live levels!