Life After Levels Year 7-8

You may be aware that the National Curriculum changed in September 2014 and that because of this, National Curriculum levels are no longer appropriate. The government has made clear its expectations that this year each school should be developing its own system of assessment that shows how its students are making progress towards success in GCSEs and BTECs at the end of Y11.

As a school we spent some time over the last academic year considering our curriculum and as a result have moved to a two year Key Stage 3, developing a new curriculum for Discovery designed to help our students become independent, resilient, engaged learners. This year, in line with government expectations, we are developing our assessment system and it is anticipated that this will evolve over the year, before we review it with our students and decide what to implement in September 2016.

We have decided that we will develop assessment grids in Discovery which will show the key skills areas in each subject. The grids will be divided into nine steps, and based on their KS2 SATS results, all students will be allocated to the step that they should be achieving if they were to perform in line with national average. We have chosen nine steps as GCSE grades are changing from A* – G to 9 – 1, with 9 being the highest grade. We are developing our grids by looking at what students are expected to be able to do / know / understand for each grade at GCSE and then using our professional judgement we have worked out what they should be doing in Y7 and Y8 in order to be ready for GCSE.

Students are not expected to move up the steps in the way that they were expected to move up through National Curriculum levels. One of the reasons that the government has removed NC levels is because they were concerned that students were being moved through the levels too quickly before they fully consolidated them. Instead, students are expected to gain mastery of their step across the academic year and when they move into the next academic year, what they will be expected to do / know / understand for their step will become harder.

We have therefore decided to report to you on your child’s progress in the following way:

  • Gold medal – on track, being where we would expect them to be to achieve mastery of their step by the end of the academic year
  • Silver medal – one step below the one that they should be working at if they were performing in line with national average
  • Bronze medal – two steps below the one that they should be working at if they were performing in line with national average
  • Platinum – achieving above their expected step.

The first time we report to you this year, we will be focusing on how your child has settled into the new academic year with grades for homework and behaviour for learning. For further reports we will also be reporting as explained above for progress in each of their subjects. The assessment grids will be shared with your child and be available on the website by the time we report against them. As this is a year of development it is likely that there will be some changes to them and we will ensure that the most up to date ones are available to you.