Who needs levels anyway?

Do you miss levels? I bet you do. I bet you miss the way they allowed you to carve up learning into bite-size chunks of certainty. Not to mention the ease by which they helped you measure progress, and we’re not talking about the kind of progress you see in books, goodness me no, we’re talking about progress along a made up scale. Yep, levels sure were helpful. But now they’re gone.

What are we going to do?

That’s a really good question and one that we’re really happy to answer.

Firstly, don’t worry. Because at ‘Targeted Innovation Tracking Systems’ (TITS) we’ve done the hard work for you. Let us explain how you can use our friendly and easy to understand system of assessments to become the teacher you never knew you couldn’t be.

First we took the national curriculum and cut up each subject into easy to understand categories that we call ‘learning themes’. Each learning theme has then been divided up into bite-size and manageable learning points that we call ‘outcome goals’. Each learning theme contains around 36 outcome goals and these have been carefully differentiated or ‘layered’ across every year group to make it easier. In total there are approximately 275 outcome goals per subject and to make things even easier we have broken them up into levels of importance: these are your ‘test likely’ outcome goals and we recommend you focus on these first.

But how do I actually know if a child has achieved an outcome goal?

That’s a really good question and one that we’re really happy to answer.

We believe that TITS should be user friendly. So we’ve created a brand new, and not like levels, system of assessment. For each outcome goal there are four stages of understanding that a child will go through from novice to master (we are fully mastery curriculum accredited):

A. Missed the net – the child cannot do this at all, the ball is too heavy and the goal is too small and far away.

B. Kicked it – the child has tried and their learning ball is starting to move in the right direction.

C. Back of the net – the child has scored, brilliant learning.

D. Instant replay – the child has reviewed their learning in slow motion and is now a premiership learner.

We believe that this simple 4 step system appeals to children because it is based on playing games. Incidentally TITS also provide pupil goal cards, stickers, wall charts, fridge magnets and hanging mobiles and it is possible to use the school’s sports premium money to pay for the subscription.

Each outcome goal step has also been sub-divided into three categories that allow for additional fine tuning by the teacher. This is a deeper level of teacher assessment that is easy to understand and use:

  1. A.1 Cold A.2 Tepid A.3 Hot
  2. B.1 Cold B.2 Tepid B.3 Hot
  3. C.1 Cold C.2 Tepid C.3 Hot
  4. D.1 Cold D.2 Tepid D.3 Hot

This deeper level allows for greater teacher autonomy when assessing children. It should be used daily in order to inform your planning.

This all sounds really easy and sensible but how do I actually assess?

That’s a really good question and one that we’re really happy to answer.

The best TITS are electronic and our TITS are no exception. Once you log on to your class each of your pupils will be displayed. Simply click on their name and click on all the correct outcome goal steps. This will then provide you with a best fit assessment indicator. For example, in reading the assessment indicator will be prefaced by the letter R followed by the learning theme followed by the outcome goal followed by the outcome step followed by the deep level teacher assessment: R-comp-25-C-2. This, as you can probably tell, means that in comprehension, the child has achieved, to some degree, some knowledge and understanding appropriate for their age.

Once all the outcome goals have been assessed TITS will provide you with an overall score for that child. The overall score system amalgamates all the precise data inputted by the teacher and gives a best-fit assessment based on the child’s age. In Year 3 for example, a child can score anywhere between 7 and 8 up to two decimal places because that’s how old and how good a Year 3 child can be. At the end of Year 3, a child with a score of 7.11 is not achieving whereas a child with a score of 8.89 is achieving really well. It’s so simple and easy to use and works all the way through the school.

How do I start?

That’s a really good question and one that we’re really happy to answer.

Even though levels have gone and have no place within the new curriculum, we still think it’s important to implant your old levels data into the new system to help get you started. A TITS implant is a simple one click procedure that will provide you with an estimated new assessment. Below are some key conversions to help you get started.

Old    TITS

2B    7.5

4B    11.5

From this you can see a simple progress measure that we call our ‘expected upwards trajectory aim’. This expected upwards trajectory aim allows you to set targets and review progress in a way that is meaningful and easy to understand. TITS will also automatically light up if a child is not making their expected trajectory allowing teachers to target key pupils through the outcome goal section tool.

As you can see, levels may be dead, but there’s definitely life after levels. We hope that you agree and more importantly, we hope you like our TITS.

18 thoughts on “Who needs levels anyway?

  1. Andrew Lowery (@Andrew_D_Lowery) October 29, 2015 / 1:17 pm

    NC levelling all seems like a strange dream now. Funny what we accept and internalise when we’re given no alternative.

  2. London City Mum October 29, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    My head is spinning already. Personally I would have opted for the acronym F*CK: Fully Understandable (and) Conversant Knowledge.
    But that would be too obvious, wouldn’t it?

    LCM x

  3. David Mundy October 29, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    Please will you have my babies (unless you’re male, obviously!) This is absolutely brilliant and I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve shared it on FB!! I started teaching in 1974 and things were a tad different then. Teaching was fun and I was a member of a proud profession!!

    • theprimaryhead October 29, 2015 / 10:41 pm

      Oh David, I am male! I’m so sorry but medical science is a wondrous thing. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and hey, stay proud man, it’s still a mighty profession.

  4. Jayne Conner October 29, 2015 / 11:23 pm

    I am actually properly laughing out loud at this. Genius. Utterly hilarious, you have truly made my half term. Thank goodness some people in the profession still have a sense of humour because teachers’ humour is fast running out.. Thanks again

  5. Zoe Nosworthy October 30, 2015 / 9:44 am

    Sharing this with my staff in a very small school. A sense of humour is just about the only coping strategy we have now. Thanks.

  6. Carol Green October 30, 2015 / 6:30 pm

    So is ‘levelling up’ now called TITS up?
    Brilliant piece!

  7. suelyle October 30, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    Don’t laugh. I was asked to review a new online assessment tool that was not dissimilar to this!

  8. johnwoottonuk October 30, 2015 / 9:50 pm

    Love your TITS … Thank you for a wonderful 3 minutes.

  9. Helen Cowlan October 31, 2015 / 12:10 am

    Oh my gosh…what a fantastic way to start my weekend. More please…I am still chuckling!

  10. CH October 31, 2015 / 7:48 am

    Brilliant, thanks for this, proper laugh out loud stuff.
    As an aside, so the larger the school the bigger screen the tits?

  11. Gemma November 1, 2015 / 9:47 am

    This perfectly describes our new assessment system… Kill me now!

  12. joiningthedebate November 1, 2015 / 5:50 pm

    Great. Stumbled on this via mumsnet. I am tempted to send it to senior managers. If it were not for the acronym I think there are managers out there who would fall for it. Ive just thought of a new teaching method that they might go for instead. It’s a derivative of flipped learning. I’m calling it Assess Review Summarise and Explain.

  13. he4therw4t5on April 4, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    Brilliant piece! Haha

  14. Podage June 2, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    TITology – perfect! I’m female – can I have your babies?

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