Assessment and Reporting
1. How are reports issued?
Your child will receive a written report once per term. These are often issued just before a parents evening and act as a starting point for discussion about the progress of your child. The reports provide pastoral information such as the student’s attendance as well as academic information such as the current levels in all the subjects your child studies. The reports are issued to your child electronically via the SIMs Parent Application.
2. Key Stage 3 (Year 7, 8 and 9) Assessment and reporting
a) KS3 How are current levels recorded?
For Key Stage 3 we have adopted an age related ‘mastery’ approach to assessing the student’s attainment and progress. Swanmore College has defined five mastery levels for each subject as follows :-
|Mastered||The student has mastered all skills taught this term.|
|Confident||The student is able to meet the requirements of the curriculum with a measure of confidence that leads to a secure achievement in the subject.|
|Meeting||The student is able, with some support, to meet most of the requirements of the curriculum (this is the minimum expected achievement to be reached by all students by the end of each KS3 term)|
|Developing||The student finds some aspects of the subject challenging while in other aspects they may be secure with support.|
|Emerging||The student is just starting to demonstrate the skills required of this subject.|
Each subject has defined a grid of skills and abilities for Year 7, 8 and 9. Together with in class testing these grids allow the teachers to assess the mastery level for each pupil. A series of in class assessments will determine where on the scale the student lies for each subject at the start of Year 7.
Each term we teach pupils new topics in each subject. When we assess the pupils we assess not only the work most recently taught but in addition work that was taught in previous terms. The assessments become increasingly more complex over each academic year.
It would be wonderful to see a students grades progress up through the mastery scale as the year goes on. However, a pupil that stays on ‘Meeting’ through the whole year is in fact making progress as each term the tests are more complex.
b) KS3 Target Setting?
We do not publish specific targets for Year 7, 8 and 9 students. The aim is that all students reach at least the ‘meeting’ mastery level in each subject by the end of each year. If progress continues at this rate then the likelihood is that the student will reach at least GCSE grade 5 in these subjects if they take them into KS4. Students will be encouraged to reach the higher mastery levels of ‘confident’ and ‘mastered’ each year. Some students will need extra support in order to reach the ‘meeting’ level in Years 7, 8 and 9.
3. Key Stage 4 (Year 10 and 11) Assessment and reporting
a) How do we set a student’s target?
Many schools use an external company called the Fisher Family Trust (FFT) to set targets. Swanmore College is no different. We have chosen what is known as FFT20 targets that would put our students in the top 20% of the country should they reach them at Key Stage 4. The target setting approach FFT uses is based on the students KS2 starting points while taking into account other ‘contextual’ information including where the students live, their attendance and how many schools they have attended.
We use FFT to generate a student’s targets for each subject at KS4. We take these individual subject targets and calculate an average – we call this the A8 target. A student has only one A8 target for their GCSE results. Based on the ability of the student we then subtract a predefined amount to generate a target for each of the Year 10.
For example consider Pupil A who left Primary School working at the expected standard in English and Mathematics. The FFT model suggests that the pupil is most likely to achieve, on average, a level 5 (GCSE standard pass) in Year 11. The target range for Year 11 would then be 4-6. The target range for Year 10 would be 3-5.
We do not publish the A8 target to students or parents. Instead we publish a single target range on the reports for Year 10 students. This range is specific to each student.
Student performance can of course vary across the subjects that they take. Some students are good at English and not so good at Mathematics for example. Having a target range allows for the student to aim for the top of the range in their best subjects. As long as the average of all their grades is at least as good as the student’s A8 for that year then they can be proud of their achievements.
For Year 11 students we publish the specific target for each subject. These are again based on FFT20 and are written onto the front of the student’s exercise books as well as being published on the reports.
b) How are current levels recorded?
Year 10 will sit three rounds of mock exams. Year 11 will sit two rounds of mock exams. The exams increase in complexity as we move through the academic year and test pupils not only on the most recent content taught but also on content from previous terms.
For Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11) students will be given a ‘Working At Grade’ on their report. This has a value from 1 to 9, is given for each subject and is based on the outcomes from the mocks. Some subjects, however, record their ‘Working At Grades’ slightly differently e.g. “Level 2 Pass”.
The Working At Grades are our way of providing a summary of the skills, abilities and knowledge of the student in each subject. The majority of feedback that students receive is however in the form of ‘targets to improve’ and ‘questions to develop understanding’. Students need to continually check what their skills and knowledge gaps are in each subject and work diligently to close those gaps.
It would be wonderful to see a pupil’s Working At Grade increases each term. However, if the Working At Grade remains the same then this also shows progress. The reason for this is that the pupil is being tested on more complex and greater content as the year progresses.
c) The student’s Working At Grade is a long way below the target – what can be done?
It is important that our students understand clearly what is needed to move to the next level in each of their subjects. Each student needs to understand the gaps in their knowledge and skills and have a plan to close those gaps. If the student is below the target range, they should focus on moving to the next level and worry less about the target. Please encourage your child to talk to their subject teachers to better understand what needs to be done to improve.
d) The student’s Working At Grade is above the target. Should the target be changed?
This is a brilliant position to be in. Just because the student has exceeded the target range in a subject doesn’t mean that they can’t further improve in that subject. Our advice is to look at all other subjects as well. Are there any subjects that need more focus without impacting the well performing subjects?
e) Does Swanmore College provide predicted grades?
We do not provide predicted GCSE grades for pupils. The Working At Grades are designed to be a true reflection of the abilities of the pupil when assessed against the work completed so far. As the pupil moves through successive mocks and the scope of the work assessed is increased, the Working At Grades will become a more accurate reflection of how the pupil will perform in the GCSE at the end of Year 11.
4. How can I find out more?
With the abolition of National Curriculum levels and changes to the GCSE grading systems there is a lot of confusion and complexity in assessment approaches in many schools. Should you have any outstanding concerns or questions about our approach please do not hesitate to contact Swanmore College on [email protected]