The Progress Myth
I admit that it took a while for the penny to drop. Once I accepted, and then embraced the death of levels, I've been continually re-evaluating my thoughts on progress measures, and have had this nagging feeling for a while now: that our entire approach is not just flawed but is a fabrication, constructed to meet the ever increasing pressures of accountability. We have come to accept these measures, made them part of the common language of assessment and tracking even though they bear little or no relation to what happens in the classroom. Progress is actually an individual thing, occurring at different rates and dependent on numerous influencing factors yet we pretend it isn't so we can continue to produce numbers for those that demand them, never really questioning their validity. We have blindly stumbled into complicity, becoming willing participants in a major scam, and perhaps architects of our own downfall. But now with levels gone I think it's time we did a little soul searching and asked ourselves a rather important question:
Can we really measure progress?