Assessment & Reporting

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Assessment takes place regularly throughout each subject and Key Stage to ensure that all pupils make at least good progress.  At Key Stage 3, in Years 7 & 8, we follow a 'step' based approach, relative to the skills required to demonstrate success at GCSE.  Each subject area has an expectation of how much progress a given pupil will make throughout the year and tracks their progress towards this.  Starting points are determined by a baseline test which takes place in the Autumn term.  This is a skills led approach, relative to a pupil's individual starting point and is based on a combination of teacher professional judgement and pupil performance.  Pupils understand their progress is measured on the basis of what skills they can demonstrate and know what they need to do to achieve the next step. This information is shared with them by each subject area.

At Key Stages 4 and 5, we follow GCSE and AS/A2/BTEC grade criteria as a mechanism to report progress.  We gather many strands together to assess pupil progress including class and homework, verbal and written feedback, peer assessment, test performance etc. and our tracking ensures that pupils who begin to slip away from their target grades are identified quickly and supported through early intervention to get back on track.

Annual Parents’ Subject Consultation Evenings are further opportunities for parents/carers to discuss their child's progress with teaching staff. Parents can also access their child/children's performance information via the online system using their secure log-in and password at any time.

All GCSEs now follow the 1-9 structure, with Grade 1 being the lowest, and Grade 9 being the highest.  Grade 4 is considered a ‘standard’ pass grade, with Grade 5 being a ‘strong’ pass; currently, the ‘strong’ pass measure is primarily designed for the purpose of school’s accountability.  The Department for Education does not expect employers, colleges or universities to raise the bar to a grade 5 if a grade 4 would meet their requirements. However, some universities (particularly Russell Group universities) have changed their entry requirements to grade 5 in GCSE English and Maths.  As a school, we are looking to Grade 5 as being the minimum standard required to study a subject at A level.

BTEC and CTEC courses are graded Distinction*, Distinction, Merit, Pass, L1 Pass (roughly equivalent to a grade 2 at GCSE) 

What grade should my child be achieving?

We set Aspirational Targets for all year groups which are set so that progress is in line with the top 5% in the country. The calculations for this are complex and are based on the SATs scores for KS3 and KS4.  In the 6th Form, the target is called a MEG and the calculations are based on the average points score at GCSE (APS). Parents can view their child/children's Targets via ‘Go4Schools’ using their secure log-in and password.

How will my child be assessed?

All pupils & students will be formally assessed through a combination of end-of-term, end-of-unit and end-of-year tests. The majority of these take place during lesson time. In addition, informal assessment through the marking of classwork and homework, vocabulary tests or quizzes will also take place. The exact nature and timing of these informal assessments is determined by departments and teachers. Additionally, pupils and students in Year 10 and above will also sit formal mock exams.  Parents can also access their child/children's performance information via ‘Go4Schools’ using their secure log-in and password.  Please note this is often not available in the first half term of the year.

Progress measure

The skills-based approach to assessment in KS3 is designed to ensure that the competencies required for success at GCSE are taught and measured from Year 7 onwards. We use the data obtained from Primary Schools at a pupil’s entry into Year 7 and professional judgement to calculate where they should have progressed to by the end of Year 8.

Assessments throughout the year will inform our judgement of the progress made by a pupil, which allows us to determine whether they are meeting, exceeding or falling below their expected progress for that point in the year.

The level of expected progress will be greater for a student with a higher ‘starting point’. This allows us to tailor our expectations of each pupil, in accordance with their prior achievement. In turn, teachers can then offer an appropriate amount of stretch, challenge and support to all pupils. The expected level of progress will be determined separately for English and Maths, with a combined progress expectation for all other subjects.

Most Likely Grade

The Most Likely Grade is the final grade that a pupil’s teacher believes that they are likely to achieve at the end of Year 11/Year 13 if they continue to work at the same rate, based on their knowledge of the pupil’s current grade, target grade and recent progress.

HERO Scores

We believe that effective learning is no accident. Our attitude and approach affect the extent of our learning, and so we have tried to summarise the important factors that influence it. Learning has been broken down into four areas:

  • Home Learning
  • Enquiry
  • Reflection
  • Organisation

The following prompts or descriptors are used to help pupils and students assess their current approach and consider how they might improve it. Learning behaviour can be:

  • Dynamic – which will lead to above expected progress over time;
  • Positive – which will lead to expected progress over time;
  • Passive – which will lead to underachievement over time; or
  • Disengaged – which will lead to significant underachievement over time.

All Learning Reviews will contain HERO scores for each subject, alongside an average score. This should be used to identify strengths and areas for improvement, alongside tracking how your child’s attitude to learning is developing over time.

In reports these are scored 1 to 4, where 1 represents a dynamic approach to learning, 2 a positive approach, 3 a passive approach and 4 indicates that the pupil is disengaged.


Assessment principles

  • John Henry Newman’s assessment framework seeks to address these concerns and capitalise on the opportunity presented by the removal of Levels, to introduce an assessment system that:
  • Is simple and easy to understand - for staff, students and parents
  • Is based on high expectations and challenge for all
  • Is closely linked to the curriculum and focused on developing the knowledge, understanding and skills needed for success at Key Stage 4
  • Improves learning and encourages a growth mindset by providing students and parents with high quality next-steps feedback focused on specific objectives
  • Tracks pupil progress in relation to an aspirational target across Key Stages 3 and 4
  • Allows all students to experience success, by focusing on the progress they are make from their starting point
  • Differentiates between pupils of different abilities, giving early recognition of pupils who are falling behind and those who are excelling

Form Tutor comment

Annually, one Learning Review will include a comment written by your child’s form tutor. Please see the Key Dates for details of when to expect this.