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Assessment Without Levels

Now that the government have removed National Curriculum Levels at KS3 all schools need to adopt a new way of assessing students. Schools need to follow a model from the approved government-funded pilots and the one we have opted for is one of the most popular with schools that was developed at Durrington High School, West Sussex.

The principles behind the approach are as follows:

  • It is important to let students and parents/carers know the progress being made, relative to students’ starting points from the end of KS2. 

  • There should be no limit to what students think they can achieve – their aspirations should be high. 

  • The progress of all students, from all starting points, should be celebrated. 

The approach will support the home-school partnership to better understand where the focus on improvement lies. 

The following parental guides explain our Key Stage 3 Assessment model:

Year 7, 8 and 9 Parental Guide to Assessment Without Levels

Carol Dweck and Growth Mindset

Research carried out by psychologist Dr Carol Dweck from Stanford University has uncovered the power of our mindset.  She explains that it is not just our abilities and talents that bring us success - but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset. 

Students with a growth mindset continue to show the same high level of interest in their work even when they find it very challenging.  Students should say to themselves "This is hard.  This is fun."  That's the moment you know you are changing mindsets. 

Some of Carol Dweck’s views about Mindset

  • It is tempting to create a world in which we are already perfect. We can make friends who make us feel faultless. But think about it - do you want to never grow?  Don't surround yourself with worshipers, instead seek constructive criticism because it helps you to understand how to fix something.
  • How do you act when you feel depressed?  Do you work harder at things in your life or do you let them go? Next time you feel low, put yourself in a growth mindset - think about learning, challenge, confronting obstacles. Think about effort as a positive, constructive force, not as a big drag.  Try it out.
  • If a teacher or parent corrects you do you feel they are just judging you or do you realise they are helping you develop?  Are there ways you could be less defensive about your mistakes?  Could you profit more from the feedback you get?  Are there ways you can create more learning experiences for yourself?

The Growth Mindset principles underpin our Assessment Without Levels model.  Students should make use of their teachers to give them feedback and constructive criticism so that they can develop and make progress.  Students should confront the obstacles they face, do their best and should not give up. 

The following BBC Radio 4 clip includes an interview with Carol Dweck in which she explains aspects of her Mindset theories.  Carol Dweck - Radio 4

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