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NC Levels and Sub-levels

Discussion in 'Music' started by crazybunkum2, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. 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.
  2. Hi We have a similar set up and as a 1 man band so to speak, it means I have to do 500 KS3 levels every 6 weeks. It's a nightmare! So, firstly, I've been allowed to have a system of which year groups to repot on at KS3 cutting it down to all groups being done 4 times over 6 sessions. It makes sense to me - sorry! Also I created an assessment sheet that covers self assessment and uses teacher target stickers to set targets. I will put a copy of it on the resources site at the weekend. Feel free to use, it will make life a little easier to bare!
  3. I don't think there's documentation of what each student should do for each sub-level or even anything about sub-levels in music, however there are quotes from Ofsted to say that music levels should not be used in this way (sub-levels every half term) and that music is unique from other subjects. I went on an APP course where we were given the exact quotes - I'll try and dig them out for you as I'll agree with you it's nonsense and it might give you the ammunition you need to try and reduce this to once a term or 4 times a year which would be more manageble. From what we were told on the course, what you are describing is not good practice for music and that Ofsted would criticise your SLT for making you do this.
  4. First of all, yes it's all nonesense. Secondly, I do six reports per year and only of these requires comments (the second summer term one). If this regime has been set up in the last three years then it is an increase in workload and contrary to the work-load agreement - which is legally enforcable. You should consult your on-site union rep and if you get no joy there you should consult your area rep.
    Thirdly, you are right about the NC levels. Instrumental grades (what most of us were brought up on) are mostly skills based, however for the national curriculum there is deliberatley little mention of skills - the thinking is that developing UNDERSTANDING is the primary aim, and this is demonstrated through skills such as performing, composing, working in a group, holding a part, using elements, conventions, cliches, styles etc.
    Broadly speaking, students progress from being able to control an instrument or their voice well enough to perform simple music towards being able to perform and composer by making increasingy accurate and competant use of the the specific features and techniques of the instrument and of styles and genres. It is slow progress.
    I often repeat grades on reports, if a child has made no progress then they have made no progress. Students often progress in bursts (some make none at all however hard we try to push them). It's just life. Furthermore, you can not say a child has rmoved to level 6 from level 5 when until they have demonstrated this level over a number of pieces of work. Give the students the level they deserve - there is nothing in our contracts of employment about students achieving particular levels.
    I worked previously in a school where the head was obsessed with levels and children knowing where they were and how they were going to get to the next one. She would walk into classrooms on spec and ask one or two quietly if they knew. I say - make sure you have set clear learing objectives for you lesson, make sure each student knows what they are doing and what they are learning right then an there and let the levels take care of the themselves.
    The Head used to call me into her office to tell me that the students did not know their levels. In the end I developed an assessment booklet - the only paper I asked students to complete. In it, they wrote their level from the last unit and then read what they needed to do complete the next unit and WHAT THAT UNIT WAS WORTH IN TERMS OF LEVELS - in other words, the assessment criteria. That shut her up!

  5. Have a look on the NAME website as there is a link to a lot of stuff for APP for Music including an assessment tracking type sheet that you simply highlight. I have been using this approach for a while and it is very manageable.
  6. KingShosters

    KingShosters New commenter

    Sorry, my brain is suffering from holiday-itis. What is the NAME website please?
  7. silverfern

    silverfern New commenter

  8. crazybunkum2

    crazybunkum2 New commenter

    Thanks for all the input. Can you give me the exact link on the NAME website if possible? There's a ton of them.
  9. silverfern

    silverfern New commenter

    Google... 'NAME' = http://www.name.org.uk/
    Then type 'APP' into the search box on the NAME website.
    The first item on the list, Assessing Pupils' Progress (APP), should take you to the right place.
  10. crazybunkum2

    crazybunkum2 New commenter

    Belated thanks for that.
    I just wish the whole music assessment process was rationalized, clarified and minimized so that staff and students could focus on the enjoyment of the subject without the burden of constant assessment.
    What's needed is a government directive that is clear and unambiguous stating that in Music only one National curriculum level is awarded, once a year due to music being typically taught for one hour per week. Then the examples given on this website could be realistically followed in a more forgiving one year time frame. Honestly, who is able to do this kind of in-depth assessment twice a term?

    This site is good also;

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