Life without levels in RE: what do we want to assess?


I’ve written three posts so far in this series of posts that lead into this post so you can see my thinking on this:

Five checks to see if you’ve replaced levels with levels

The foundations of assessment: Myths & challenges

A model for whole school life without levels

What do we want to assess in RE?

This comes down to purpose. As the RE community cannot agree I decided to go with what I thought and came up with the following:

what RE does

However it is not possible to assess all of these. In fact it isn’t desirable to ‘measure’ some of these. How can you measure a child’s spirituality? And why would you want to? Can you or should you reward progression in spirituality?

So I decided to pick out those that I though would be appropriate to include in our model and came up with this:


I don’t we should try to assess or measure those in red. In fact, I think these don’t all just belong in RE; most are SMSC that should be developed across the curriculum.

I initially planned to deal with those that were left but have not included the challenging questions, these should probably also belong across the curriculum. This doesn’t mean I don’t use these in class but I don’t want to include them in this model.

Over time I continued to read blogs and what other schools were doing.

New GCSE and A level requirements

At the same time the GCSEs and A levels were at the beginning of being reformed. This seemed an ideal time to link in. I certainly didn’t want to just use KS4 in KS3 but wanted it to inform and compliment it. We don’t have KS5 in my school but I felt that our KS3 could help to support learning at KS5.

The DfE released the assessment objectives as follows (GCSE and A Level):

I wanted to unpick what these meant. I hate using the words ‘analyse’ and ‘evaluate’. Whilst it is important for students to understand these command words, I believe we should teach them what they mean in terms of breaking them down, not teaching them as command words. There are several skills needed to analyse and evaluate, I wanted to divide these so students can see how they contribute overall to their writing.

I picked out (in red) the knowledge, understanding and skills needed at A level that could transfer down:

AO overall.png

I continued to keep in mind what other people had said about new models without levels. In particular I looked at what Michael Tidd had written here:

Whilst not in a Catholic school I was also inspired by the Catholic levels of attainment, in particular for reflection:


Look at level 1 and EP. This really made me think about keeping things as simple as possible but with meaning.

I then began to think about how all of this could be presented to students and could contribute overall to an assessment model.


One thought on “Life without levels in RE: what do we want to assess?

  1. Love to see where you go with this. In the middle of trying to develop a new way of giving feedback to pupils, but don’t want to over complicate things. Thanks for posting, great food for thought.

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