Should the removal of levels lead to “best practice”

I take no credit for this thought – it was the thought of somebody else on twitter – but I can’t remember or find who. The person who thought it pondered whether the removal of levels would mean schools would find OFSTED inspectors who disliked their chosen system of assessment and criticised because of this. (I use dislike to mean an emotional response to the system rather than considering how effective it might be.)

I’ll hold my hands up – I liked levels, I certainly thought them no worse or better then any other system moreover they were understood by all in the profession. Were there inconsistencies in application? Possibly – but I don’t see how a new system will improve matters.

On the plus side a profession which I care about deeply has now been given the opportunity and the responsibility to devise a system which accurately describes a child’s attainment and works for the school and I think that ultimately any “wrinkles” will iron themselves out. But the wrinkly stage is a worry.

As the original thinker pondered what happens if a team decides it dislikes a particular system? @oldandrewuk has devoted a fair amount of time to highlighting OFSTED team’s apparent favour of one teaching style over another.

Assessment is, I think, the next bone of contention and I can well see OFSTED issuing a clarifying statement at some point or other saying that OFSTED do not favour one assessment system over another – as an organisation they probably won’t – but how about teams who shelter under the organisation’s umbrella?

I can’t help wonder whether we will be inundated by “best practice” during the wrinkly stage. Please don’t misunderstand me, I want to always improve what I do but what happens if “best practice” is in fact utter gibberish?

Brain gym was at one point so described as was VAK and schools followed the best practice genuinely believing that they were going to improve outcomes for young people. Instead time, effort and money was poured into what can only be looked back on as ridiculous.

Could the same happen with assessment?

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