Our Assessment Policy can be found here.

We have amended our Assessment policy from this September (2018). Essentially, the amendments pertain to frequency of reporting, the replacement of the ‘Band’ system and changes to marking and feedback.

Frequency of reporting

Depending on the year group, historically parents have received a progress review and an end of year report. However, from this September parents will receive grades home at the end of each half term. This will result in six reports over the course of the year. Each report will have three grades:

  1. Learning behaviour (A-E)
  2. Homework (A-E)
  3. Attainment (A-E, more detail later in this letter)

One of the six reports will be detailed with comments from the subject teacher on how to improve; your child’s tutor will also provide a comment.

The reason for increasing the frequency of reports is to provide staff and parents with more information about the performance of your child. This will allow for early intervention if progress is stalling during the year. However, improvement in attainment is not necessarily a linear process, so parents should not be alarmed if progress goes down from one report to the next. For example, if I was a PE student my cricket attainment grade would be high, but it would fall if the following half term was athletics. Departments are likely to test different aspects of skills each half term, which could result in attainment variation. The key is to look at all three grades (attainment, behaviour and homework) as this will provide an accurate reflection of the performance of your child.

Changes to the ‘Band’ system

Since 2014, students at KS3 have been allocated a band (Novice, Apprentice, Practitioner or Expert). However, this will change in September 2018, when a new system will be introduced. Each department has created five descriptors (A-E) that students will be assessed against. The new system will enable students to get a clear picture of their progress as they move through Key Stage 3. This is a linear system and the goalposts will not change from one year to the next, which was one of the main criticisms of the band system.

New KS3 grade (totally linear – no changing of goalposts at the end of each year)Approximate old Y9 bandGCSE grade equivalent (not what they are likely to get – approximate standard they would be at that point)
AExpert6 and above
ENovice (low)1

The table above outlines how the band system relates to the legacy system. An A grade broadly equates to the standard required for a grade 6 at GCSE, so this will be challenging for students to achieve – perhaps not until Year 9. Descriptors for each department will be found in exercise books.

We believe that the simplification of this system should make it is easier for everyone to understand. However, I do appreciate that students in Years 8 and 9 will have experienced two systems. It is worth noting that for the final half term of the year, students in Year 9 will start their GCSE studies and the final report of the year will have an attainment grade on the GCSE 1-9 scale.

Marking and feedback

The previous policy specified that books were marked every two weeks, which has meant that some of our staff were spending every evening marking a set of books. This is not conducive to high quality teaching and learning, as staff are not spending time profitably.  We want staff to use their time to plan and resource excellent lessons, which research shows is more important for high quality learning.

In the new policy, marking can take the form of detailed written feedback, but it need not be exclusively so. On some occasions, marking may be a simple check on task completion, presentation or level of effort. At other times, marking may involve a simple grade (grade 1-9 at GCSE or A-E at KS3). Not all written work by students requires a written response from their teacher. For example, notes taken during lesson or draft work where pupils are exploring how to respond may not require a written response. We would be grateful if you could bear this in mind when you are looking at your child’s exercise book.

For subjects where it is appropriate, one piece of work every half term will be marked in detail with a grade provided and detailed diagnostic comments provided. Students will be expected to respond to this (e.g. green pen) and make improvements to their work where appropriate. The grade for that piece of work is likely to be the one used to report home at the end of that half term, so students must try their best in these key pieces of work.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me – m.bamford@oaklandscatholicschool.org