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KS3 levels vs sub-levels

Discussion in 'Assessment' started by I_hate_dida, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. Do subjects in your school grade students with whol levels (i.e. Level 5) or sub levels (i.e. level 5a)

    Any pros or cons to either method?

  2. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    I'm sure some do level more than the once in key stage that's the legal requirement but if you do it just once or twice, there's no point in agonising over the hypothetical "subs".
    Some will like them, though, I dare say.
  3. T34

    T34 Lead commenter

    The National Curriculum and its stages and its legal requirements is one thing - checking on pupil progress during a key stage is another thing.
    Besides the legal requirement to report at end of a KS, a school has the responsibility to make sure as far as they can that every child is developed to his/her full potential and does as well as he/she should at these legal requirement points.
    To do that a school needs to know where a child is at intermediate points so interventions/actions can be applied before the end of the KS, in time to make a difference.

  4. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    Of course. Nobody assesses just once in three years. You can't help assessing every day, all the time, can you? We all do it.
    And if you need to create "sub-levels" for that, then that's what you'll do.
  5. Hi,
    I have a question - I've also posted on English.
    Do we have to report sub-levels for EN1, 2 and 3 for end of key stage 3 reporting? We have been asked for sub-levels for these individually and then an overall level for English without a sub-level...
    I am a bit confused to say the least as the TARA guidance from QCDA doesn't mention sub-levels.
  6. The only time sublevels are reported, I believe, is for level 2 at KS1.
    At all other times only flat levels are reported.
  7. Hmmm...interesting. I think I now have to enter into a dialogue with someone senior and tell them they're wrong...aargh. I don't want my team to be doing work they don't need to though. We've already entered flat levels and are being asked to re-do the spreadsheet.
  8. The ARA/TARA gives the <u>statutory </u>requirements of report content regarding achievements, it may be that your LA requires a different breakdown for its own purposes.
    The statutory return usually takes the form of an xml file and needs to conform to the rules of the Common Transfer Form (CTF). If you are being asked to complete a spreadsheet, this may be of your LA's design and therefore its decision as to content.
  9. T34

    T34 Lead commenter

    And what would you do, Markuss, if you were asked for an estimate of what your current year 5 pupils would achieve at KS2?
    You may have assessed them all at level 4 at the moment. Do you think that they will all achieve a Level 5? Or perhaps you think none of them will go on to achieve a level 5?
    Or perhaps you would wish you had been a bit more discriminatory and used a finer assessment scale than just the NC levels themselves?
    Don't you think that some measure of the <u>quality</u> or <u>reliability</u> of their current level4s might be appropriate?

  10. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    How do you show progress to parents if you dont use sub-levels?
    My school has an issue with discontented parents in key stages 2 and 3 where the level reported does not change over the year. The parents want to see a level go up. No amount of explanation will make these parents happy.

    Sub levels, as far as I understand them, were only invented by schools as an internal way of tracking student progress. They were never meant to be shown to parents.
  11. crazybunkum2

    crazybunkum2 New commenter

    The staff at my school are all required to produce a report 6 times a year! That's six times; each report requiring codes for Class Effort, Homework Effort, and NC Level, with 3 times of the six needing additional comments in addition to the codes. All six times a National Curriculum level is required. Now, those of us who have been teaching for a while will know that the National Curriculum Levels were originally only required to be used at the end of the Key Stage and that sub-levels don't officially exist. But we report 18 times across key stage 3. With the average progression for the average student being 2 levels even using sub-levels there are not enough of them to show any progression with every report. I would love to see some official government documentation stating clearly what Performing, Composing and Listening/Appraising skills students should be able to show at each of the sub-levels in each of these categories but the fact is that there isn't such documentation. The documentation is vague when it comes to sub-level specifics. Also, middle-managers at the school are trying to install good teaching practice by asking staff to clearly inform students via 'targets' what they need to do to 'progress to the next level'. Individuals, some on this very sight, have made brave and valiant attempts to describe progression through the sub-levels in these areas but there is no commonly agreed statement of what I student should be able to do at each sub-level. When questioned, my middle-managers hmm and haw and fudge. The other piece of nonsense I have to contend with is the fact that, as Music is typically only taught once a week, these reports have to be written every 7 weeks or so, usually after 5 weeks of a half term, so the tutors have time to check them and write comments, Therefore, I have to assess the students in all 3 areas of the Music curriculum in the first 5 weeks. My lessons have become a merry-go-round of assessments mixed with new subject content. So, is there anyone out there, who has; a) Had the patience to read this post and; b) Has a similar situation, c) Thinks it's nonsense also, and, d) has the solution Any thoughts on my dilemma would be very welcome.
  12. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    Sorry to say that I can only sympathise! What you are being required to do makes no sense whatsoever.
    Haven't you got a subject person or an assessment specialist in the Local Authority who could back you up in saying that this is absolute rubbish?
  13. bjojo - you were right, it is the local authority who have asked for sublevels for EN1, 2 and 3. Grrrr...
  14. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    I used to be fully bought into the idea of sub-levels. Since the introduction of APP (boo, hiss, boo) I have seen the light and now realise that they mean nothing.
  15. T34

    T34 Lead commenter

    I sub-levels mean nothing then how do you explain this...
    I am sitting here now looking at historical data for a real cohort in a real primary school.
    At KS1 (in Maths) 14 pupils were awarded a "2a".
    Of these, 3 eventually got a "level 5" at KS2 whilst the remaining 11 all got a "level 4". The APS for these children at KS2 was 28.3 points

    At KS1, (again in Maths) 10 pupils were awarded a "2c".
    Of these, 6 pupils got a "level 4" at KS2 and 4 got a "level 3". The APS for these children at KS2 was 24.6 points.
    This is not an isolated example of chn classified wiht a higher KS1 sub-level achieving more.
    If sub-levels mean nothing, how do you explain the consistently higher achievement at KS2 of children with a 2a at KS1 compared with those with a "2c" at KS1 (or indeed, those with a "2b")?
    If pupils take time to progress through a Level, do you think a pupil who has <u>just</u> entered Level 4 will, on average, reach level 5 earlier than or later than a pupil who has already been at level 4 for a while? Does a pupil progress in single, unpredictable, Level-size quantum leaps or is progression more of a series of smaller leaps such that when enough of them have accrued we can say with certainty "This child has now moved into the next higher level".
  16. T34

    T34 Lead commenter

    Correction - "attaining more".
  17. T34

    T34 Lead commenter

    Presumably they can both do them all - otherwise they wouldn't both be Level 5.
    But - the 5c child is less far along the way to a Level 6 than is the 5b child.
  18. T34

    T34 Lead commenter

    ...it is the level 6 descriptors which you should be looking at in order to determine the sub level for a child at level 5.

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