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KS3 Assessment

KS3 is the stage in each child’s education covering Years 7, 8 and 9 in secondary school.

We have taken a three-pronged approach to assessment:

  • Day-to-day in-school formative assessment, which is assessment as students are learning.
  • In-school summative assessment, which is assessment after learning has been happened.
  • Nationally standardised summative assessments, which are tests other schools use too.

At the Classroom Level, teachers use informal assessment to check students’ understanding of the main curriculum elements. This might be through questions, short quizzes or through an observation of work as it progresses. They then respond appropriately through their teaching, with an expectation that the information is used not only for identifying gaps in students’ knowledge, skills and depth of understanding, but also to inform future lessons.

At the Department Level, each department has set out how they will periodically establish the overall progress a student is making using a broad range of assessment materials such as end-of-unit testing, essays, artefacts or performances.

At the Whole School Level, we have set out assessment windows across the year in which students will sit formal assessments including:

  • CAT (Cognitive Ability Tests) which are sat on entry to Year 7.
  • A Year 7, Year 8 and 2 Year 9 exam windows across the academic year. Most subjects will set an exam in these weeks, although more practical subjects (e.g. Art and Drama) may assess over a longer period of time.

In judging whether students are at the expected level of attainment, students’ exam results in these assessments are rank ordered within the Year Group. A comparison is then made with each student’s starting point in each subject – this is calculated on entry using the information provided to schools nationally by a charity called "Fischer Family Trust". Students who remain at a broadly similar rank are judged to be ‘working at expectations’; those who significant rise within the rank order are judged to be ‘working above expectations’ and those who significantly fall within the rank order are judged to be ‘working below expectations.’ Based on the knowledge of individual students, teachers then make the final decision as to which statement best reflects each child’s attainment.

KS4 assessment

KS4 is the stage in each child’s education covering Years 10 and 11 in secondary school and is the period when GCSE and some vocational courses are studied. GCSEs are graded 1 – 9 where 9 is the highest award and 1 the lowest. A Grade 4 is considered the level that students must achieve without needing to re-sit either English or Maths Post-16.

As with KS3, staff continually assess students’ progress in lessons through a wide variety of assessments, questioning and writing tasks. In preparation for GCSE exams, students also sit a formal suite of GCSE papers at the end of Y10 and a set of mock papers in Y11. These assessments are all sat in exam conditions and are reported to parents and students as GCSE grades. Some subjects will also set assessments in the final term of Year 11.


All parents receive two progress reviews (reports) each year. Where parents have supplied the school with their email address, these are sent home electronically via the Schoolcomms platform. Progress reviews contain:

  • Student’s full name
  • Attendance
  • Head of Year comment on student’s achievements on the second report
  • Y9-11 only - indication of subject specific targets
  • Y10-11 only - an end of Key Stage 4 prediction
  • Exam results where applicable at KS4
  • Indication of whether the student is performing in line with expectations
  • Effort and Homework review scores
  • Subject teacher sections

The reports are in line with statutory requirements. The purpose of reports is to communicate effort and attainment data to parents and students.