Having just spent 5 years working in international schools, which were autonomous, accountable to stakeholders (fee-paying parents, educational trusts, and, above all, students) and engaged in a continuous cycle of self-improvement, at the heart of which is a wide range of data regarding student learning, I am relieved to see UK schools being given the opportunity to develop the same internal rigor and deep understanding of learning based on analysis of data and evidence to inform decision-making and action. It is my great hope that it is the start of really professionalising teaching.
However, the removal of levels and the replacement of this with schools' developing their own systems poses risks, and needs support in the form of school leaders and teachers become data literate: understanding the principles of assessment and how it can contribute to improved school performance; engaging in rigorous discussions and decisions about how the school can collect, analyse and manage data in order to inform teaching and learning, as well as inform pupils and parents of their progress; using a wide range of data and evidence. Of course, this already happens in patches and to varying degrees of thoroughness. Removing levels may give schools the chance to help it happen throughout.