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How to get the students to know what level they are on....


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#1 Hannah W.

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 05:21 PM

One suggestion this week following an observation from SLT (non-specialist) was that I should be teling students what level their verbal answer to a question is during a lesson.

The activity they were talking about where I apparently could have given a level was when students were discussing a painting as part of a starter activity. In this instance that would mean saying 'well done ______ , you were able to make an inference from a visual source, that is a level_, to get to a level _ you should...'

To me this seems quite a superficial way of using the level descriptors, plus it would make the ruin the flow of the class discussion.... but I will make sure to do it next time I have an observation!

Have I missed something, Is everybody else doing this?
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#2 suzygudgeon

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:10 PM

We're doing it as well. We have to show verbal SIT (strength, improvement, target) marking

#3 Ed Waller

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 07:01 PM

One suggestion this week following an observation from SLT (non-specialist) was that I should be teling students what level their verbal answer to a question is during a lesson.

The activity they were talking about where I apparently could have given a level was when students were discussing a painting as part of a starter activity. In this instance that would mean saying 'well done ______ , you were able to make an inference from a visual source, that is a level_, to get to a level _ you should...'

To me this seems quite a superficial way of using the level descriptors, plus it would make the ruin the flow of the class discussion.... but I will make sure to do it next time I have an observation!

Have I missed something, Is everybody else doing this?


This clearly is a Grade C response. You don't seem very certain (sitting on the fence), and there are gaps in the information you provide. To move towards a Grade B response, you need to ask the SLT member concerned if they have any understanding of the levels in history ;)

Sorry, don't mean to lampoon your post. Good answers will always be rewarded, even simply 'good answer' or 'I like the way you...' It is appropriate at times to discuss grades/levels, and even to model answers of a certain level.

If you intend to grade oral contributions in a lesson, worth having that as an objective and discussing what an answer might include.

But every comment? Or in every lesson? An SLT obsessed with measuring progress rather than generating it. I'd guess person was once a science teacher?
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. - Groucho Marx

#4 M J Owen

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 08:18 PM

As you probably know, the level descriptors were meant to gauge a student's development at the end of a key stage, not at the end of the year, not for an individual piece of work, and certainly not for a verbal response to a question. The recent Ofsted report 'History for All' was somewhat critical of schools using levels to mark individual pieces of work and even seemed surprised that some schools had created 'sub-levels' within the existing levels.

Anyway, rumour has it that levels will be scrapped altogether by the new curriculum review board.

Taking all this into account I'd just play the game if that's what they want you to do. Level 4 if they 'describe', Level 5 if they 'explain', Level 6 if they 'evaluate' (or something like that)

#5 Katie Hall

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:53 AM

Taking all this into account I'd just play the game if that's what they want you to do. Level 4 if they 'describe', Level 5 if they 'explain', Level 6 if they 'evaluate' (or something like that)


I agree, if they are being that stupid just play along for peace and quiet!

Sings "All I want for Christmas is for levels to be scrapped" tra la la la la

#6 Dom_Giles

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 10:42 AM

This is madness, pure madness. What a stupid idea. God soemtimes I just can't believe what some colleagues are bullied into doing. This is jumping throgh hoops for the sake of it. It serves ABSOLUTELY no educational purpose. Can you just imagine what it would be like to be a 14 year old who, in every lesson at school, every time they volunteer to ask or answer something the teacher replies with this mumbo jumbo. Telling them what level they are at and how they can improve. How depressing. This will do NOTHING to foster enquiry or thinking or a love of learning. what the hell is happening to our education system. I'm seriously shocked. I hope you ignore this advice.

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#7 johnwayne

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 11:37 AM

This is madness, pure madness. What a stupid idea. God soemtimes I just can't believe what some colleagues are bullied into doing. This is jumping throgh hoops for the sake of it. It serves ABSOLUTELY no educational purpose. Can you just imagine what it would be like to be a 14 year old who, in every lesson at school, every time they volunteer to ask or answer something the teacher replies with this mumbo jumbo. Telling them what level they are at and how they can improve. How depressing. This will do NOTHING to foster enquiry or thinking or a love of learning. what the hell is happening to our education system. I'm seriously shocked. I hope you ignore this advice.


Hi, I totally agree with Dom but for observations this has to be seen (i.e. jumping through hoops!!)

#8 Maggie Smith

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 12:24 PM

I was told I had to give a target level for a student who arrived this term, with no information from her previous school. She had not attended a History lesson either!!!

Think of a level.... double it........ divide by something or other!!

We have targets for every subject that all students have to be aware of and they need to explain how to get to the next level

No pressure!!

#9 Ed Podesta

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 04:21 PM

In our department we have started to use 'targets' in the back of books - these are reminders for each student as to the thing that they need to be working on in order to progress. Students should not know their levels. We record levels for reporting and for accountability, but unless students ask for it, we don't give them a level. There is ample evidence to suggest that knowing one's level prevents one from learning.

I think that ofsted asking students for levels should be resisted very strongly if we care about what we do. Although one could see it as harmless hoop jumping, it does actually make use less effective educators and prevents learning on the part of the kids in our classrooms.

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#10 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:26 PM

Overview of some of the things I've done - assessment in history. Possibly a bit dated but it ticked boxes when observed and the kids seemed to find it useful (at times).

#11 MrsCMG

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 07:14 PM

The way i get around the students knowing were they are working I sometimes set a small piece of work as level ___ and i tell them this piece of work is part of Level __. The students then know they have attempted that level and if they suceed they know they are working towards that level and if they don't they are on the level below. Very crude I know but my students seem to like it.

Also if I was being observed my students can point to a piece of work and say 'we have done this level __ work' (look a little good!)

#12 Hannah W.

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 09:10 PM

Some good hoop jumping ideas here. Thanks everybody. Apparently ofsted will also now be looking to see students reading aloud in lessons... So many things to remember!
stock your mind, it's your own house of treasures and nobody else in the world can interfere with it

#13 MrsCMG

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 09:16 PM

Some good hoop jumping ideas here. Thanks everybody. Apparently ofsted will also now be looking to see students reading aloud in lessons... So many things to remember!



When it comes to reading aloud, I ask for volunteers. Most of the students enjoy it, but I have been told by the SENCO at school do not force students with any SEN to read out in front of the class. This may be bad for self esteen, maybe get them to read their answer out just to you as you are going around. OFSTED can then see evidence of them reading out aloud.

#14 CCulpin

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 06:47 PM


Some good hoop jumping ideas here. Thanks everybody. Apparently ofsted will also now be looking to see students reading aloud in lessons... So many things to remember!



When it comes to reading aloud, I ask for volunteers. Most of the students enjoy it, but I have been told by the SENCO at school do not force students with any SEN to read out in front of the class. This may be bad for self esteen, maybe get them to read their answer out just to you as you are going around. OFSTED can then see evidence of them reading out aloud.


I'm inclined to agree with Dom Giles, 18 December: this is not learning, not real progress and certainly not History. But then I haven't got Mr. Fillbox, the Deputy Head (Data) leaning over my shoulder, or some bonehead Ofsted Inspector lurking outside the door.
More to the point, the Expert Panel Report, para 8.4 says:
"We are concerned by the ways in which England’s current assessment system encourages a process of differentiating learners through the award of ‘levels’, to the extent that pupils come to label themselves in these terms.... It also distorts pupil learning, for instance creating the tragedy that some pupils become more concerned for ‘what level they are’ than for the substance of what they know, can do and understand.This is an unintended consequence of an over-prescriptive framework for curriculum and assessment."

Brave words, which needed saying - (probably written by Dylan Wiliam, is my guess).
To implement these recommendations will unwind nearly 20 years of increasingly bad practice: dare Michael Gove do it?

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#15 Lesley Ann

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:48 PM

Dare, dare and double dare Gove. He needs to do it!
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