Note: Perhaps this work is now irrelevant. The new coalition administration has removed the national standards exemplar materials from the internet and the Curriculum Review Report, indicates that national standards defined in terms of levels is likely to be a thing of the past. But these papers can be seen as an earlier sign of a challenge to National Curriculum Levels which had become a means of obscuring assessment and inhibiting rising standards.

The Curriculum Review Report presents a case for teacher-pupil dialogue and feedback coupled with assessment practice which is in fact prefigured in this work which was developed to challenge the unhelpful practice of constant 'levelling' developed by schools. It remains to be seen whether school leaders can be weaned away from the value-added spreadsheets of levels which have so pre-occupied them in recent years. In the meantime there is material and ideas in these papers which can provide the basis for future work.

What is also quite clear is that Ofsted will be pursuing the quality of assessment and marking in lessons quite rigorously. Almost all Ofsted reports I have read this year 2011/2012 refer to this in the commentary - usually specifying improvements in this area. This does mean that assessment is not going to go away even if levels do. In the circumstances these papers hold their relevance. (Jan 2012)

This simple site provides an easy way to share some working papers about assessment in UK secondary education. They explore issues of APP, AfL and FFT in foundation subjects. This site was originally developed in 2010.

In the first section the papers drew upon QCDA's exemplification materials for foundation subjects at KS3. These have now been withdrawn although they provided helpful supplementary guidance which demonstrate good assessment practice.

In the second section new materials explore the role that FFT 'estimates' play in defining appropriate GCSE targets in foundation subjects. The point is made that FFT 'estimates' are simply statistical probabilities, and that challenging 'targets' should always be set by schools, taking into account the informed 'predictions' of the students' teachers. It is argued that, for target setting to be worthwhile, there is a need for teachers to understand the difference between 'estimates', 'predictions' and 'targets'. This material is interactive and suitable for iPads as well as other platforms.
Dan China,
10 Jun 2012, 07:45