Are teachers abandoning NC Levels? Research shows the exact opposite.

One of the great things about running a really big database like Yacapaca is that you get an absolute ton of data to analyse, and you can sometimes give definitive answers to questions other people can only speculate about. The ‘disapplication’ of NC Levels is a case in point.

Michael Gove told teachers to abandon NC Levels last September. As it happens, we keep a detailed log of the gradescheme applied to each student set within Yacapaca. This morning, I grabbed the last 1000 changes to existing gradeschemes, and ran the numbers.

NC Levels 2

Out of 1,000 in total, 446 chose to retain NC Levels, 35 chose to remove NC Levels and 72 moved from a different gradescheme to NC Levels. Not exactly stampeding for the door.

So what’s going on? Apart from the obvious point that few in the teaching profession feel under any great pressure to follow instructions from an Eduction Minister who has already been sacked, there really isn’t a viable alternative. If you want to continue to use criterion-referenced assessments through KS3, then you need a set of criteria to reference against. The NC Levels are far from perfect but they are well-understood and in any case, no alternative has been offered.

I have made my feelings about this clear before, and nothing has yet happened to make me change my mind. I see no reason why you as a teacher should abandon NC Levels, and I am very pleased to have numerical evidence that the majority of our users agree.


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