5 key points from the final report by the Commission on Assessment Without Levels (1/3)

The Commission on Assessment Without Levels has released its final report, which affects every school in England. Head teachers and senior leaders need to find a new, sustainable method of assessing their children across all year groups, from EYFS to KS1 and KS2.

We’ve examined the final report closely and pulled out its key points and recommendations. You can also download a PDF version of the report, which includes highlighted passages that we think you need to read.

Download the highlighted report

Five key points from the report

Assessment without levels is a daunting prospect for some schools. They have more freedom than ever before, but devising an assessment structure for life without levels is no easy task.

Here are five main points from the final report – paraphrased for clarity.

1. Formative assessment and linked expertise

Schools must emphasise the importance of formative assessment and strengthen the link between the three components of teacher expertise: curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.

2. In-class assessment that identifies pupil progress

High quality, in-depth teaching supported by in-class formative assessment is vital. It must help teachers identify when pupils are struggling, need to consolidate, and ready to progress. Pupils must be able to use and apply skills across the curriculum.

3. Summative assessment and supporting pupils

Summative assessment must enable school leaders to monitor performance of pupil cohorts. It should help identify where interventions are needed and help teachers support pupils to achieve sufficient progress and expected attainment.

4. Capturing authentic learning

Quality assessment allows schools to capture authentic learning with moderated precision. Recording summative data more than three times a year is unlikely to provide useful information.

5. Assessment directly linked to the curriculum

Assessment should be directly linked to the curriculum that schools teach. The report and Ofsted state that how schools assess pupils’ progress and attainment should be inextricably connected to pedagogy.

What now for schools?

Schools now have the freedom to devise and develop their own approach to assessment, including creating a sustainable assessment policy.

School leaders must develop a strategy that aligns with the school’s curriculum. It must work for pupils and staff, enabling teachers to assess progress effectively. Every school must find an assessment approach that focuses on teaching and learning, generates continuous improvement and supports achievement.

It’s a huge challenge, but it’s an opportunity too.

How can Cornerstones help?

We launched Cornerstones Assessment over the summer and the feedback has been fantastic.

If your school uses the Cornerstones Curriculum, our Cornerstones Assessment package is the perfect match. If you have both, your school will meet all requirements set out in the final report from the Commission on Assessment Without Levels.

What if your school doesn’t currently use Cornerstones? The report says that any assessment solution must start with a school’s curriculum. We agree with that notion.

Most assessment products have been designed in isolation and require a great deal of adapting and wrangling. Cornerstones Assessment is not most assessment products.

It comes with the comprehensive essential and developmental skills that we developed for our own curriculum. Everything is linked to the national curriculum and our four online tools enable you to shape assessment in your school.

It’s not an off-the-shelf solution either – we don’t leave you to figure things out for yourself. We support all our schools and have a dedicated team on hand to help at any time. We even provide a model framework for writing your assessment policy.

You can find out more on our Cornerstones Assessment product page.

Get in touch

Feel free to ask us questions about the final report or get in touch to talk about Cornerstones Assessment. You can use our contact form, email support@cornerstoneseducation.co.uk or phone 03333 20 8000.

Published by

Simon Hickton

Simon is Managing Director and KS1/KS2 assessment specialist at Cornerstones. He oversees our strategic direction and finances, as well as the development of our assessment package. He has 20 years teaching experience, 10 of those years as a primary head teacher. He has also worked as a freelance assessment and school improvement consultant.

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