Trust teachers, not notional test levels

1st August 2008 at 01:00

At a social event, I was asked by a woman who had just received her child's Year 6 report what the Teacher Assessment was. She wondered if it was what the teacher thought the child would get "in the real test". I explained to her that it's the test level that is the estimate, based as it is on marks achieved in a single event.

I gave her a flavour of the national curriculum level description for writing to show her how the difference of one mark can't possibly be a realistic description of having done, or having failed to do, what the level says.

The test level really is a notional one. For English, the reading and writing marks are added together to give an estimated overall level. The teacher's overall level, on the other hand, takes into account not just a wide range of reading and writing over time, but also the other third of the curriculum - speaking and listening.

Peter Tallon, Member of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors.

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