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Life After Levels

Life After Levels
One school’s story of transforming primary assessment

First Edition

October 2016 | 152 pages | Learning Matters

This is the story of one school's successful journey to a 'life after levels'.
Together, the Headteacher and staff at one successful school took on the challenge: 

  • Where do we begin?
  • What is the best assessment system for our school and our children?
  • How do we make the most of assessment opportunities in the classroom?
  • How do we create an assessment policy from scratch and implement it in the school?
  • How do we evaluate it, re-shape it and talk about it to parents, the wider school community and our colleagues in primary education? 

Through exploring one school’s story, this text supports teachers and schools in a time of uncertainty, confusion and choice to make the most of the new opportunity to assess children without the restrictions of levels. 

"The removal of Levels has given all professionals involved in education a unique opportunity to rediscover what we value in this key aspect of teaching and learning...and it is an opportunity that we must grab with both hands. I want this book to provide a time for reflection for teachers and school leaders to re-adjust their thinking on assessment and to get excited about it."
- Sam Hunter -

Part One: Exploring Assessment
Assessment: Where we are now (and how we got here)
Principles of Great Assessment
Part Two: The Impact and Opportunity of Life After Levels
The Impact and Opportunity of Life after Levels for School Practitioners
The Impact and Opportunity of Life after Levels for Pupils
The Impact and Opportunity of Life after Levels for Parents
Part Three: Performance and Accountability
The Accountability Question
Accountability and Teacher Performance
Part Four: Assessment Toolkit
Ideas and Strategies for Primary Assessment
Getting evidence from the children in the classroom

Making the most of WALTs and SC

Promoting pupil self-assessment in lessons to guide their next steps

Quality questioning and discussion


Practical tips for using Learning Ladders

Conclusions: Taking Control of Assessment

As a busy teaching head, I didn’t think I’d have time to read ‘Life After Levels’ by Sam Hunter – how wrong I was! A quick flick through showered me with nuggets of useful information and ideas to share with staff. It’s easy to dip into, easy to navigate and reading it isn’t a chore.  
This book, I decided, is a really welcome, ‘on-side’ read for beleaguered professionals trying to achieve their best and create the most effective systems in the current assessment climate.    
‘Life After Levels’ is reassuringly rooted in research - but filled with practical tips ready to lift straight off the page and straight into the classroom! I’m going to share one (or more) of the strategy tips from the end of the book at each staff meeting from now on.

Bridget Knight
Primary Headteacher

The book is well written and down-to-earth; it is firmly based in classroom learning, with children at the heart of the concepts. A practical and reassuring book that will guide schools and help the development of new assessment systems, as well as helping with the implementation and effectiveness of current systems.

Sarah Brew
Parents in Touch

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This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.