Assessment without levels

Assessment in the context of the new National Curriculum

We have … opted to recommend an approach to pupil progression that emphasises ‘high expectations for all’ – a characteristic of many high-performing jurisdictions. This conveys necessary teacher commitment to both aspiration and inclusion, and implies the specific set of fundamental achievements that all pupils should attain.

‘High expectations for all’
Report by the Expert Panel for the National Curriculum Review
December 2011 (Chapter 8.17)

… all assessment and other processes should bring people back to the content of the curriculum (and the extent to which it has been taught and learned), instead of focusing on abstracted and arbitrary expressions of the curriculum such as ‘levels’.

Curriculum focused assessment
Report by the Expert Panel for the National Curriculum Review
December 2011 (Chapter 8.24)

 Primary assessment announcements – 14 September 2017

Primary Assessment Consultation (2017)

Commission on Assessment Without Levels

Some key links exploring the implications for assessment in the new National Curriculum

This area of the AAIA website has been developed to support both primary and secondary teachers in addressing the opportunities and challenges for assessment within the National Curriculum.  Guidance has been structured in a series of website pages addressing key questions and has been designed to support schools in developing and refining their assessment practice. In particular, the guidance addresses how:

  • formative assessment/assessment for learning should continue to be the foundation of learning and teaching because supporting learning is the most important purpose of assessment;
  • embedded/mastery learning should be at the heart of the new curriculum and how assessment can support this;
  • formative and summative assessment are inter-related and how evidence that accumulates from day-to-day learning and teaching (driven by formative assessment) can provide evidence over time for summative assessments (for tracking progress, evaluating teaching and learning, reporting outcomes and for inspection and accountability);
  • summative assessments can be made directly in relation to the curriculum without the need for levels.

The guidance also summarises the changes to statutory assessment and to expectations for assessment in the Ofsted framework.

The following pages explore these issues and others, and provide links to a range of materials, publications and websites:

See also:

The national curriculum for England to be taught in all maintained primary and secondary schools from September 2014

Primary school assessment and accountability – England

Secondary school accountability – England

Assessment for learning

Assessment Reform Group



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