ABSTRACT

In preparing for the National Curriculum, the Secretary of State set up the Task Group on Assessment and Testing (TGAT), chaired by Paul Black. The Group produced a main report, supplementary reports and a digest for schools. 1 TGAT proposed that assessment related to the National Curriculum should be criterion-referenced in the sense that the concern should be to describe what a child can do rather than, primarily, to compare one child with others. The assessment should be formative, indicating where a child was in a continuing process of learning, so providing information about what should be done next to help the child forward; except that for 16-year-olds the assessment would be summative, showing what a child had achieved through his or her school years. It took the definition of attainment targets as given - as directions of trayel rather than as points to be reached - and proposed that work in these should be divided into 10 levels, presumed to cover the whole period from 5 to 16 and all children. Everyone would begin school in Levell. Most children would take two years to work through a level, but some would go more slowly and others more quickly, hence the need to have 10 levels. The assumption was that for the present if not forever, the range of achievement in an aspect of the curriculum would be much the same as now, i.e. the equivalent of about '7 years' at 11. By the end of Key Stage 1, some children would still be in Level 1, most would have moved through to Level 2, and some to Level 3. At the end of Key Stage 2, nearly everyone would be in Levels 3 to 5.