I've thought and read about this quite a lot and I am none the wiser. I understand that pupils need to know: <ol>[*]What they can and cannot do correctly[*]Where they need to improve[*]How to become better mathematicians</ol>What I don't understand if why an observer would have a problem with it if they ask a pupil what level they are and the pupil doesn't know. In terms of what a pupil can and cannot do and what a pupils strengths and weaknesses are levels are a fairly meaningless construct that convey virtually no useful information at all. Surely it is far more important for a pupil to know their mathematical strengths and weaknesses and where they need to improve than it is for them to know that they are level 5c (or whatever). I find that focusing too much on assessment and levels is detrimental to pupils in several ways. Firstly pupils seem to be more risk averse and dependent on me the more they care about what level they are. Their willingness to attempt to do a question that is challenging or that they are sure of the correct method/approach decreases the more the care about their level. This is for me particularly noticable in pupils that are bright.They also won't attempt any question that takes more than 2 seconds to answer without significant support and badgering. Secondly when tasks are given a level pupils care far more about the level than the feedback on how to improve.How meaningful is it to a pupil if they know they are level 4? What does it tell them about what they need to do to improve? They will know whether or not they are on track to meet their target level but they probably won't know what they need to do to improve to meet their targets. This is particularly true as they seem to have little interest in descriptive targets (level is all important). Thirdly their level often seems to be a reflection of how well they have been previously spoonfed rather than a reflection of their ability to understand or do mathematics. Ask pupils a question in a different context to the one they are familiar with or a question requiring several different topics without the scaffolding SATs and gcse questions usually provide for pupils and observe the results. Ask them to do an investigative task requiring some thought but minimal mathematics even. Some pupils are completely lost and unwilling/unable to attempt the question without help. Other pupils that are the same level will attempt the question using a range of different strategies that may or not be successful. This is surely a far better measure of the mathematician than the levels (which might well be the same). So do OFSTED demand that pupils know what level they are? Would it be a big deal if an inspector asked a pupil what level they are and they didn't know? I've been through several inspections and none of my pupils have ever been asked. Has anyone had an inspector ask their pupils what level they are in Maths?