How do we assess pupils?

Layer 1:  Formative on-going – Assessment for Learning

Layer 2:  Summative 3 times per year – Assessment of Learning

Formative assessment is what we want the teachers to focus on mostly. Research shows that this has the greatest impact on learning. It involves the teacher identifying pupils’ strengths and weaknesses and the adapting their teaching accordingly. Formative assessment might include:

  • Quizzes
  • Multi-choice questions
  • Reading or observing pupils’ work
  • Breaking a complex task down and assessing each component
  • Spelling and vocabulary tests
  • Knowledge organisers
  • Written plans
  • Questioning

Summative assessment usually takes place three times per year and could be a written test, an assessed piece of writing or a practical activity

How do we find the starting points for pupils?

Pupils are not given a target grade in key stage 3 as we do not want to put any limits on their aspirations. We want to encourage a mindset where all pupils strive for excellence and a culture of ‘I can’t do it yet’ rather than ‘I can’t do it’

We will use the achievement scores from Key stage 2 to assign each pupil a starting point. We will also use results from CATs tests to assist in the process. Teachers will also carry out a baseline assessment in all subjects in the autumn term of year 7. It is important to note that this is a starting point only. Whilst Key stage 2 tests will provide some useful information to start with we also recognise that the tests are only the results from a snapshot in time and sometimes don’t accurately reflect a child’s true potential. They are not a proxy for IQ. For this reason, we don’t assign ‘rigid’ flight paths. We recognise that pupil progress is not linear and rarely follows predictable trajectories.

How are pupils assigned attainment bands?

Based on their start points, pupils will be placed in to one of three attainment bands for each subject. These attainment bands are not fixed and where a pupil is working consistently above their band, we will move them to the higher band. No student will be moved down.

Attainment Band Expected GCSE Outcome
Higher7 – 9
Intermediate5 – 7
Foundation3 – 5

Attainment bands help us identify strengths and weaknesses of each pupil and plan accordingly. Starting point from which to internally track progress. Internal assessment allows us to ensure they have gained the knowledge and skills necessary for GCSE outcomes. Pupils above their band will be moved to the next band. Consistently below means support plans put in place including meetings with teachers. We strive to create a culture in school where excellence is the norm; a school were working hard is celebrated by everybody. The process of determining and assigning attainment bands helps us to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each pupil and to help them be taught in the most effective way and to make maximum progress. Pupils are continually assessed both formatively and summarily to ensure they have gained the required skills and knowledge so that they gain their expected GCSE grades. If pupils consistently demonstrate that they are working at a level above their initial attainment band they will be moved up a band. Where pupils are performing below expectations, support will be put in place and interventions monitored closely.

Reporting to parents

Three times a year parents will receive a report on their child’s progress in school. Parents will have the chance to discuss their child’s progress at two parent’s afternoons throughout the school year.

The report will include:

  • Attainment band for each subject.
  • A judgement as to whether or not a child is on track to achieve predicted future outcomes.
  • A judgement as to whether current effort levels are acceptable.
  • Where effort is judged to be below expectations, further details will be provided as to why this is the case e.g. homework, behaviour in class.

How will we report effort grades to parents?

On all report’s parents receive an effort grade will be given for each subject. The grades will range from 1 – 4. The grade descriptors can be found below. (see example of a report – table below)

The teacher may also indicate by ticking a box how pupils might improve that grade.

  Class Concerns
 Effort 1 – 4 BehaviourEffort in classHomework
English2 213

Effort Grade Descriptors:


  • Demonstrates an outstanding work ethic and a passion to learn independently
  • Enthusiastically embraces all opportunities for learning
  • Is extremely well-organised and actively follows instructions
  • Behaves exceptionally well
  • Always completes homework on time and to a high standard
  • Studies independently and seizes opportunities to improve.


  • Is hard working, conscientious and determined
  • Makes positive contributions and acts upon advice
  • Is consistently ready to learn and follows instructions
  • Behaves consistently well
  • Completes homework on time and to an expected standard
  • Acts on opportunities to improve


  • Needs to work harder and focus more in lessons
  • Does not always persevere and produces work that is inconsistent in quality
  • Can be unprepared for learning and does not always follow instructions and /or sometimes behaves in a disruptive manner
  • Completes homework but may have missed deadlines
  • Sometimes produces work that lacks thought or care


  • Lacks focus and needs frequent monitoring
  • Gives up too easily and produces work that lacks thought or care
  • Shows little interest in improving standards
  • Often arrives unprepared for lessons
  • Is uncooperative and disrupts learning
  • Rarely completes homework
  • Produces work of a poor quality