Clarity on NC level descriptors

I received clarification today about the level descriptors we should be using for Science.  I’ve quoted from the email below since many people are arriving on my site after searching for KS3 level descriptors.   Thankfully it means that there isn’t much of a change – so little change that you wonder why the Government bothered to make any change at all!

From the QCDA:

  • schools are to use the LDs for levels 4 to 8 plus exceptional performance that were set out in the 2007 secondary curriculum handbook (not the 2009 revised versions which were consulted on last year and sent to al schools in February of this year). For levels 1-3, they are to use the current descriptions from the primary curriculum (1999). (This applies for all subjects except citizenship, MFL and RE where all levels were set out in the 2007 Handbook).
  • this applies from 2011 for Y9 pupils being statutorily assessed for the first time under the current secondary curriculum but from this year in schools which run a compressed 2-year key stage 3 and statutorily assess at the end of Y8.
  • we will be adjusting the secondary National Curriculum website and putting up consolidated lists of all the level descriptions to be used. This will create an issue in mathematics (where two of the four ATs changed their name in 2007) and in science (where all ATs changed their name). We propose to list the LDs under the 2007 AT heading with a footnote to explain that, L1 to L3, the AT has a different name in the primary curriculum.
  • the line on APP is that, since national standards have not changed, it remains completely relevant although we also remind that it’s voluntary

Hopefully this provides much needed clarity as we all rush to complete our end of year teacher assessments.


Published by Rob Butler

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