Changes to Key Stage 3 Assessment & Reporting
From the academic year 2019 / 20, Kingsmead School will report Year 7, 8 and 9 students’ assessment results as percentage scores, in their termly progress reports. This will begin with a trial in the autumn term.
Why we are changing
Within education, a national debate is currently taking place over the use of GCSE grades, and particularly grade flightpaths, in Years 7, 8 and 9. The Department for Education and Ofsted advise that schools should not use grades, but they do not recommended an alternative.
The debate has also taken place in Kingsmead and it is evident from the parental feedback that there is appetite for change. With this in mind, Kingsmead School has developed a new assessment and reporting system for Years 7, 8 and 9, which will not use GCSE grades or flightpaths.
Percentage scores explained
Because we want to report something more meaningful than a label and easier to understand than ‘flightpaths’, Kingsmead School has decided to report the average percentage scores that Year 7, 8 and 9 students achieve in their class assessments.
Students will be assessed at least once per term in each subject, enabling a percentage score to be reported for each subject, in every progress report. The progress report will include an ‘Expected Score Check’ column, which will confirm whether the student’s score is:
Above expected (above the expected score)
Met expected (meeting the expected score)
Below expected (below the expected score)
*Some students may be ‘Well below …’ or ‘Well above …’ in a subject.
The progress of students will not be measured against a ‘target’ percentage score, set in September. Instead, student progress will be measured by comparing each student’s individual percentage score to the average score of a group of students. These groups (of approximately twenty-five students) will be different to the classes that students are taught in. Instead, they are based on the students Year 6 SATS results (so students with similar results/starting points are grouped together).
If the student’s current percentage score is neither significantly above nor below their group’s average score, their score will be reported as having ‘Met (the) expected’, as they will be working approximately at the average level of their peers.
If the student’s current percentage score is significantly above their group’s average score, the student’s progress will be reported as being ‘Above expected’ (or ‘Well above expected’ if the difference is great enough). This means that the student is working significantly above the average level of their peers.
Conversely, if the student’s current percentage score is significantly below their group’s average score, the student’s progress will be reported as being ‘Below expected, (or ‘Well below expected’ if the difference is great enough). This means that the student is working significantly below the average level of their peers.
The significance of the difference between a student’s percentage score and the expected / average score for their group, will be determined using standard deviation.
If a student’s percentage score is significantly below the average for their group, their class teachers will intervene with them, to help them close the gap with their peers. Evidence of these interventions can be found in student’s exercise books (usually as personal learning checklists, or pink PLCs).
The example of a student’s progress report (below) shows both the expected (group average) percentage scores, the student’s own current percentage scores, as well as the ‘Expected Score Check’ column.
Please note, percentage scores achieved in different subjects are not comparable and a seemingly low percentage score does not mean that your child is not performing well, it instead reflects the difficulty and rigour of a subject’s assessments.
An important reason why Kingsmead School has decided not to use percentage score ‘targets’ with years 7 to 9, is that we do not want to create artificial barriers or ceilings for the progress of our students. Many Kingsmead teachers have observed that younger students who meet their expected grades early in the school year, begin to ‘switch off’ and become more difficult to motivate as the year progresses. This means that they will have made less progress by the end of the school year, than if they had not had an expected grade. Similarly, some younger students have become very demotivated when they have failed to meet very challenging expected grade in the autumn term and do not make the progress they are capable of by the end of the year either.
Without percentage score ‘targets’, we believe that students will be motivated to do their best in every assessment and make the progress they are truly capable of.
End of Year 9 exams
At Kingsmead School, the end of Year 9 is used as a transition period to help prepare students for the rigours of Year 10. The integral parts of this transition period are the students’ early promotion and end of year exams in May.
Although students’ assessment results will still be reported as a percentage score for the majority of Year 9, their end of year exam results will be reported as GCSE and BTEC grades. We have taken this decision after listening to the views of students, parents and teachers. The overwhelming reason why grades are wanted, is so that the students’ start to Year 10 can be made as purposeful as possible. Furthermore, teachers will be able to provide students with effective feedback based on GCSE style assessments, which should also drive the students’ to make greater progress at the start of Year 10.