I wrote to a friend the other day. There seems little point in rewriting it for a blog so I am just posting it as it is.
Its really difficult and I suspect you are right no one in the dept for ed cares about art and design or anything outside core and ebac subjects. I also suspect levels are irretreivable now. In that event the most important fallback would be an adequate conceptual framework for the subject which clearly defines the ‘key concepts’, ‘assessment objectives’ or whatever they will be called. This would at least protect the breadth and range of experiences for children and hopefully keep in play the notion that assessment should reflect progress in each of these ‘assessment objectives’. As to high expectations I cannot envisage how this can be promoted in art and design without some descriptors, exemplars, illuminating age related standards, again in each of the different assessment objectives. Without this I suspect custom and practice will very quickly revert to ‘school art’. That is undemanding, outcome led, activities to decorate classrooms. Some schools will do more and may influence by example – but I guess this will be of the ‘arts week’, self indulgent, profile building, kind. The above refers to primary experience in the main.
In the secondary sector, like you, I cannot imagine leadership will abandon the measuring of progress and teaching, and they will be looking for ways to sustain the process. I fear they will simply reinvent levels by another name. I guess the important factor here is to hold on to the argument that recording and reporting practice should support, not distort, assessment. To do this it will be important to record and report across all the assessment objectives (in the short and medium term) and leave aggregated single grades/levels to end of year summative reports.
Presumably FFT and GCSE estimates will not be significantly affected by announced changes. So here the practice and misunderstandings related to GCSE targets remains the same.
Much will depend upon the way that any new curriculum is expressed as well as what is in it. If it is simply a few bland aspirational statements for KS1-3, then it will be a disaster for the subject, albeit worse in primary than secondary. No national curriculum would be worse and lead to a gradual (or not so gradual) deterioration in the subject. Noting the fact that Gove does not even take note of the expert group he set up, but seems to be drawing on undisclosed advice from somewhere else it is hard to be optimistic that rational argument and representation will prevail. I suspect that primary art and design will be cast adrift and that secondary art and design will be defined by GCSE requirements – which is where we came in.