KS3 APP & Level descriptors

Whilst reading the Department of Education web site I found this useful snippet of information.

Ministers have also decided not to proceed with the revised level descriptions which were due to come into force for Key Stage 3 from this September. Secondary schools should therefore continue to use existing level descriptions.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised because this Government seems determined to stamp their mark on education policy, regardless of the impact on schools and the wasting of many hours of time spent on preparation by teachers.

I’m sure that many schools have already been working with the new level descriptions for a year or two (as the new curriculum rolled out) and to suddenly switch to the old descriptors in this way is most inconsiderate.  Fortunately the changes to the level descriptors are only cosmetic and the essence of each level has not been changed.  What is a level 5 with the old level descriptions should be a level 5 with the new (and now abandoned) level descriptions.

Where does this leave APP?

  • Remember APP isn’t and never was statutory – You don’t have to do APP whatever your SLT says!
  • There is no right and wrong way of using the APP materials
  • APP is about robust assessment and embedding Assessment for Learning (AfL) in teaching
  • APP works alongside either set of level descriptors (new or old)
  • APP is not about collecting banks of evidence for every student
  • APP isn’t about a once a term assessed task (although this is a place to start)
  • APP can still be used to assess ‘how science works’ skills.
  • APP can still be used to inform teacher planning and expected lesson outcomes.

So APP isn’t dead yet, and can still be a useful and valuable tool for teachers of science, whatever the key stage (from KS2 to KS4!).

Update (11/06/10):

Given the lack of detail in the Government statement I’m wondering if I got the wrong end of the stick.  On the QCDA site there are level descriptors (KS3) from 1 upwards, and a document dated hidden at the bottom of the page, and then the 2007 descriptors also listed at the bottom that seem identical but missing levels 1 to 3.  Is it the new levels 1 – 3 we are not meant to be using?  I can’t believe we are going back to the v. old level descriptors but in the lack of detailed guidance from the Dept of Education it’s hard to know what to think!


Published by Rob Butler

Ex-science teacher, ex-school leader and full-time geek.

One reply on “KS3 APP & Level descriptors”

  1. I too though it was a useful snippit of information when I found it on the DfE site BUT I rapidly realised I didn't know what it meant!If you look at the QCDA site (http://curriculum.qcda.gov.uk/key-stages-3-and-…) it has the new and the 2007 level descriptors and the statement:-These revised level descriptions will be used statutorily for the first time in secondary schools in summer 2011. These will supersede the level descriptions contained in the secondary National Curriculum handbook (2007). Both versions can be downloaded as a PDF from the key actions section of this page.So it looks like we're sticking with the 2007 ones…. A bit more (clearer) information would be helpful wouldn't it!!!

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