Progress and Assessment at St. Mary's

Last updated 10/09/2017

OUR Core Principles of Assessment

Our assessment system at St Mary’s is based on the following core principles:

  1. Assessment is formative: it is used to inform next steps in teaching and learning.
  2. It is based on the detailed understanding that faculties and teachers have of what enables our pupils to make progress in the subjects that they study.
  3. Assessment identifies gaps in knowledge and understanding, and allows us to support our pupils is overcoming those gaps.
  4. Assessment information should help pupils and parents understand how to to make progress.

How we assess

All subjects are different, and so the way we assess varies from subject to subject.  What all subjects have in common is that assessments form part of a long-term plan to prepare pupils for the demands of GCSE and the other qualifications offered at the end of y11.  Subjects have all identified mastery steps: the knowledge and skills that pupils need to master before moving on to the next steps.

Forms of assessment include:

  • Baseline assessments
  • CAT testing: standardized cognitive ability tests
  • High-frequency skill and knowledge testing in class
  • Pre-public examinations (PPEs): annual formal written examinations
  • Controlled assessment or coursework for some qualifications
  • Peer assessment

How we set targets

On the basis of Key Stage 2 test scores, and the assessment information outlined above, we set our all our pupils targets.  These targets form a flightpath of expected progress all the way from Key stage 2 to GCSE.

These targets aim to ensure that all our pupils make progress that is better than the national average for pupils with an equivalent starting point.  In other words, our pupils are set targets that are challenging, but appropriate to their ability. 

How we report

We keep parents informed about their child’s progress in the following ways:

  • Parents’ evening
  • End-of-year report
  • Pupil progress data four times per year

In Years 7 and 8, the pupil progress data we send home contains the following information:

  • On track indicator
  • Attitude to learning grade
  • Attendance information

The on track indicator shows whether the pupil is making the progress necessary, at each stage and in each subject, to meet their target.  The target is, ultimately, a GCSE grade

In Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11, the information includes

  • GCSE progress grade (using the new GCSE 9-1 grades)
  • PPE (trial exam) grade where relevant
  • Attitude to learning grade
  • Attendance information

The GCSE progress grade indicates the grade that the pupil is most likely to achieve on the basis of their current performance, if they continue to make progress at the same rate.

What does progress look like at St Mary’s?

As the new GCSE qualifications are gradually introduced, and as we are developing new schemes of work to prepare pupils for these new qualifications in each subject, we intend to publish detailed information on what represents progress in each different subject.

Beginning with Year 7 in the 2017–18 academic year, we are publishing subject progress plans for each subject in Year 7, whose purpose is to give a detailed picture of what progress looks like in each subject.  They will show the mastery steps required for each pupil flightpath, in other words the skills and knowledge expected of each pupil, based on their starting point, if they are to meet their target.

Subject progress plans are designed to be read in conjunction with the pupil progress data that is sent home 4 times per year. 

The subject progress plans are divided into 4 rows or flightpaths, which each contain descriptions of the mastery steps required of pupils at different levels.  Each flightpath represents a different starting point (identified by key stage 2 test scores), and a different GCSE target.

If a pupil is on track, then they will be working at the level indicated in the row corresponding to their target grade.

If a pupil is below target, then they will be working in line with the descriptors in the row below their target grade.  To get back on track, they need to address those areas – and start working to master the knowledge and skills in the row above.

In conjunction with the attitude to learning grade, this information gives a detailed picture of how pupils are performing in each subject, and, most importantly, where they need to focus their efforts if they are not on track.