Are we re-styling or just trimming the fringe?

I read Michael Tidd’s blog with interest. Following an informal survey amongst fellow Twitter users Michael reported his findings on the periodic assessment systems that schools have adopted in a post-level world. The outcomes resonate with my experience of working with a range of schools.

Yes, there are some leaders that have initially felt the need to create/purchase a system that “works like levels.” I think this is driven by (a) external accountability measures, (b) a desire to support staff in using an approach they are familiar with, and (c) fear of the unknown. However, as these colleagues become more engaged with the daily implementation of the new curriculum it has become increasingly obvious that an approach that is “like levels but with a different label” just won’t cut-it. It isn’t fit for purpose.

I’m delighted that so many Senior Leaders I’ve worked with this year have really embraced the desire to do things differently; to design an approach to periodic assessment tracking and monitoring that reflects the school’s research-informed ethos and principles around effective formative assessment. We’ve really invested time and energy in supporting school leaders to get the foundations right. And for those colleagues who are sticking with steps for the time being – I hope they will be evaluating and adapting their approach whilst they are using it, because AfL is a way of being.


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