I am on record (here) as being less than convinced by the arguments that scrapping levels is a great idea. I still have those doubts. It may well be that schools replace levels with some wonderful systems of assessing progress. That remains to be seen. This post is about the immediate issue of what happens during changeover.
At the moment a school knows that at one point in time a child is measured at Level X, and at another point in time they are measured at Level Y (lets not argue here about issues of variability of this measurement and accept that there will be similar variations in any system). They can work out the progress. They can be assured, because they have been using the system for many years, that their year on year measurements will be able to be compared. “Are we making as much progress this year as we were last year?”
Consider what happens when they switch system. How will they be able to be sure that the amount of progress in the year (as measured with the new system) is comparable with that of the previous year? This will of course be exacerbated by the considerable changes in the curriculum content. I see this as a bit like changing currency and letting everyone decide their own rate of exchange. It makes the Euro convergence criteria look sane in comparison.
The obvious way to do this would of course be to run the new system alongside the old system (a parallel run) to ‘calibrate’ the new system. I don’t get any sense that this is happening.
Big change in curriculum and big (and unmediated) change in means of measuring progress. I do fear we are heading for a year where we literally don’t know how well our schools are doing.
Would be grateful for some reassurance that these issues are being considered (and how).