Assessment & Reporting

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Assessment takes place regularly and strategically throughout each subject and Key Stage to ensure that all students make at least good progress.  At Key Stage 3, in Years 7 - 9, we follow a 'step' based approach, relative to the knowledge, skills and ideas required to make excellent progress through the curriculum in that subject.  Each subject area has an expectation of how much progress students should make through the curriculum over the year(s) and tracks their individual progress towards this.   Students understand their progress is measured on the basis of what knowledge, skills and understanding 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 Go4Schools, 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 (which is 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?

The vast majority of assessment is done as natural and going element of the teaching and learning process in classwork and homework.  As a small but significant part of the assessment mix, all students will be formally assessed for summative and reporting purposes through the combination of end-of-term, end-of-unit and end-of-year tests that best suits the subject area. Additionally, pupils and students in Year 10 and above will also sit formal mock exams.  Parents can also access their child/children's examination 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 approach to assessment in KS3 is designed to ensure that the building blocks for success in the subject in the longer term are in place, evaluated and responded to from Year 7 onwards. We use the data obtained from primary schools at a student’s entry into Year 7, in addition to our professional judgement, to calculate where they should have progressed to by the end of Year 9.

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

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, used at KS4 and 5, is the final grade that a student’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 the rate and success of progress through the curriculum.

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. These dispositions have been broken down into four areas:

·         the capacity for hard work 

·         the capacity to be empathetic

·         the capacity to be resourceful

·         and the capacity to be organised

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 in each of these four areas 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 as the work becomes more demanding.

In reports these ratings 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.

Our approach and its rationale is developed further in the linked booklet and presentations.


Assessment principles

  • Saint 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.