A Parental Guide to Assessment and Reporting in Key Stage 3 at Kirkburton Middle School

 

Reporting to Parents

 

Three times a year parents will receive reports on their child’s progress in school. One of these will be the established Parents’ Evening with an opportunity for parents to discuss attainment and progress with subject staff. There will also be two additional written reports, one an interim report and the other a full report. These will consist of:

 

  • An 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.
  • The yearly full report will also include a comment from the form tutor.

 

Report Example

 

 

 

Attainment bands

 

From this academic year, we will be using a banding system that measures pupil progress against potential GCSE outcomes. The process of determining and assigning attainment bands helps us to understand the strengths and weaknesses of pupils and enables us to employ the most effective teaching strategies to maximise progress. It will also give us a point from which to internally track pupil progress. Using formative and summative assessment, we can track pupil progress throughout years 7 and 8 to ensure that they have gained the required knowledge and skills, at that point in time, in order for them to achieve their potential GCSE outcomes. In line with our philosophy of high aspirations for all, the expectation is that all pupils make progress in line with the very best schools nationally.

 

We have placed pupils into GCSE attainment bands using a combination of information:

 

  • Key Stage 2 SAT Results.
  • Year 7 Baseline assessments (GL Assessments in English and Maths) with predicted GCSE Estimates.
  • In those subjects of a more practical nature such as Art, PE and Music baseline assessments are conducted through the Summer Term in Year 6 and Autumn Term Year 7 in order to assign attainment bands.
  • Using statistical predictions of likely GCSE attainment based on prior attainment e.g. Fischer Family Trust.

 

Whilst secondary school progress nationally is measured externally in relation to the progress pupils make from their Key Stage 2 test outcomes, and we understand why this is the case, we also recognise that Key Stage 2 tests only measure attainment at one snapshot in time. We also know, from published performance data, that pupils at middle schools, on average, have lower progress scores at the end of Key Stage 2 than pupils at primary schools. As such they don’t always give a true reflection of a child’s future potential. For this reason, we don’t assign rigid ‘flight paths’ for pupil progress; to do so would seem to be entrenching pre-existing inequalities in attainment measured at that one point in time. We also recognise that pupil progress isn’t linear and rarely follows predictable trajectories. As a middle school, we also have a much clearer idea of a child’s potential at the end of Key Stage 2 and we use this knowledge when assigning our attainment bands

 

Below is a table to show what GCSE grade we might expect a pupil to attain at the end of Year 11 if they make sustained good progress from their assigned Key Stage 3 band.

 

If pupils consistently demonstrate that they are working at a level above their initial attainment band, they will be moved into the next band. No pupil will be moved down a band. Where pupils are performing below expectations support will be put in place to help them get back on track; this will often involve contacting parents to discuss the concerns identified.

 

KS3 Attainment Band

Estimated GCSE outcome

Content taught

Higher

7-9

7-9

Intermediate

4-6

5-7

Foundation

1-3

3-5

 

We use attainment bands at Key Stage 3 rather than target grades as we do not want to put any limits on pupil aspirations. We want to encourage the mind-set where all pupils strive for excellence and a culture of ‘I can’t do yet’ rather than ‘I can’t do.’   

 

We firmly believe that if teachers teach good lessons and pupils work hard, both in and out of school, this will lead to positive outcomes. We continuously monitor the quality of teaching and learning across the school in order to ensure all pupils have access to great learning. We also place a huge emphasis on monitoring and rewarding pupil effort in all areas of the curriculum. If pupils try hard in every aspect of their work, success invariably comes their way. We strive to create a culture in school where excellence is the norm; a school where working hard is something to be celebrated by everybody.

 

What does the effort grade column mean on a school report?

 

For us, this is the most important column on the report. If pupils try their hardest at all times, we are confident they will make excellent progress in school. Effort grades are ranked 1-4 with 1 being the highest grade. Where a child has an effort grade 3 or below, teachers will identify key cause(s) for concern.

 

Criteria for Awarding Effort Grades

 

1

Outstanding

  • 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

2

Good

  • is hardworking, 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

3

Requires Improvement

  • 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

4

Serious Cause for Concern

  • 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 poor quality

 

Key

 

Effort

Behaviour

Homework

 

What does the on track column mean on a school report?

 

Throughout the year, teachers consistently monitor the progress of all pupils against the assessment criteria for each attainment band. Pupil progress varies throughout the year and from topic to topic and so the ‘on track’ column is a best fit of all the current assessment information. If a child is reported as being ‘on track’, all the assessment information points towards them making good progress. When a child is identified as not being on track, they will receive specific support and intervention from teachers to help them get back on track. It may be that a child is making poor progress as a result of their effort levels in school. As such the on track column should always be read in conjunction with the effort column grade.

 

How do we assess pupils to inform an on track judgement?

 

Essentially we assess the learning of pupils in two ways, which act as two separate layers of assessment. These are as follows

 

Layer 1: Formative

 

Formative assessment takes place on a day-to-day basis during teaching and learning, allowing teachers and pupils to assess attainment and progress more frequently. It does not involve the grading of work but instead the teacher identifying pupils’ strengths and weaknesses, supporting them to respond to their areas for development, and adapting their teaching to help pupils improve. Formative assessment is what we want teachers to focus on most. This is because research evidence tells us that this has the greatest impact on learning. Some examples of formative assessment are:

 

  • Quizzes
  • Multi-choice questions
  • Retrieval activities
  • Reading or observing pupil work (either during or after a lesson)
  • Live marking (marking pupils’ work as they are completing it)
  • Breaking a complex task down into several smaller parts and assessing one part at a time
  • Spelling and vocabulary tests
  • Filling in blank knowledge organisers
  • Questioning

Layer 2: Summative

 

Summative assessment is sometimes called assessment of learning and is a formal method to evaluate achievement and learning against key skills/knowledge and expected standards over a period of time. The period of time may vary, depending on what the teacher wants to find out. There may be an assessment at the end of a topic, at the end of a term or half-term, at the end of a year or, as in the case of the national curriculum tests, at the end of a Key Stage. Assessments can take the form of an end of unit test, formal exam, practical performance and project work.

 

Frequently asked questions

 

Why can’t my child be given a GCSE target at Key Stage 3?

 

Whilst we can use data to look at how pupils with particular starting points usually perform at GCSE, we don’t want to use this to set targets. The main reason is that we don’t want to put a ceiling on pupils’ expectations of themselves – we want all pupils to believe that with the right effort, we can all get that little bit better. Just because most pupils with a particular Key Stage 2 starting point end up getting grade 5 at GCSE, that doesn’t mean that has to be the case for everybody.

 

Can my child move attainment bands?

 

Yes. If pupils consistently demonstrate that they are working at a level above their initial attainment band, they will be moved into the next band. Where pupils are performing below expectations, support will be put in place to help pupils to get back on track.

 

Why are the attainment bands broad? I want to know the exact GCSE grade my child is currently working at.

 

It is extremely difficult to predict GCSE grades during Key Stage 3 due to the amount of learning that has to take place before pupils eventually sit their exams at the end of year 11. As a result, we have designed a Key Stage 3 Assessment System that deliberately avoids connecting our curriculum objectives too closely to GCSE grades. We feel to do so would be misleading and may lead to unnecessary anxiety for our pupils. We want our pupils to focus on getting better in every subject during Key Stage 3 rather than their eventual GCSE grades. The firm message we want to give at Key Stage 3 is ‘with the right amount of effort, anything is possible.’

 

Is there any link between the Key Stage 3 Curriculum and GCSE?

 

Over the past two years we have rewritten our entire Key Stage 3 curriculum in order to raise the level of challenge for all pupils. As part of our curriculum planning, all subjects have identified the core knowledge and skills that pupils will need to gain at key points.  We are at present reviewing and adapting this further, working collaboratively with colleagues across the pyramid to ensure that pupils are achieving in line with their attainment band at GCSE. As previously stated we aim high and, with the right amount of effort and commitment, we believe all pupils can make great progress during their time in school.

 

Who do I speak to if I have any further questions?

 

If you have any queries/questions about your child’s progress within a specific subject, please contact their subject teacher in the first instance.  In addition to this the calendar for Parents’ Evenings has been aligned with the school reporting schedule in order to allow much more informed discussions to take place. Where you have more general concerns i.e. across three or more subjects, please contact your child’s Form Tutor.

 

Mr Martin (Assistant Headteacher)

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