As part of the reforms to the national curriculum, from September 2016 pupils starting in Year 7 will no longer have been assessed using national curriculum levels at key stage 2. There is also no longer a prescribed method of assessment for secondary schools during key stage 3 and at The Romsey School we have been investigating different assessment models to discover whether this greater freedom will enable the school to create a system of assessment that is better than our current model.
Working in our own school and with colleagues in schools locally and further afield we have been discussing the fundamental principles of assessment and our system must:
- Be clear and consistent, and allow pupils to see that they are making strong progress;
- Build upon the daily dialogue of formative assessment between teachers and pupils that enables each pupil to make strong progress.
- Enable pupils and parents to understand where a pupil’s achievement places them within their cohort and in the national context, and allow a child who moves between schools to make that transition without disadvantage;
- Link to pupils’ performance in exams through key stage 3;
- Support the transition towards new GCSE courses and exams at key stage 4.
At present, our school has chosen to continue to use the existing national curriculum framework of levels. Our evidence shows that pupils make strong progress through key stage 3, and GCSE exam results have consistently shown that this continues into key stage 4. Adaptations have been made to the criteria underpinning the levels in line with the changes to skills and knowledge in the new national curriculum. However, the numerical levels still reflect whether a pupil is below, meeting or exceeding age expectations and to what extent:
|Level at the end of Year 9||Relative achievement|
|4||Achievement is significantly below national age expectations|
|5||Achievement is below national age expectations|
|6||Achievement is meeting national age expectations|
|7||Achievement is above national age expectations|
|8||Achievement is significantly above national age expectations|
We intend to continue to review our decision and as part of our research will trial alternative models of assessment in some subjects.
We will ensure that our assessment system of levels is explained clearly to new parents as we are aware that from September 2016 some may not have experienced these before.
At key stage 4, pupils’ attainment is assessed in terms of GCSE grades and predicted grades are reported to parents termly. All schools are currently beginning the transition from GCSE grades A*-G to grades 9-1 and at Romsey we will review our whole school assessment in the light of this new system of grades when sufficient information regarding the new assessment criteria for grades is available.