Assessment & Reports
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 there are no nationally determined standards for student achievement. Therefore, it is very difficult to ascertain if a student is performing well or poorly in terms of their progress towards qualifications at the end of Year 11. As part of our school assessment policy, we require departments to undertake what are called “common assessments” these are assessments completed by all students of a subject irrespective of teaching group for a subject. These are not exams and are not taken by all students at the same time. Common assessments are often undertaken by subjects at the end of a particular unit or topic of work. As such, they do not necessarily take place within a particular time frame across subjects. Their purpose is for informing teaching and learning within the subject area. They also provide a snapshot in time on the current achievement of a student in that particular subject and we have used that snapshot to try to give you some helpful information. However, with no national standard there is no way of determining if an assessment in one subject is harder or easier than an assessment in another. Our previous experience had been that parents/carers found end of year scores difficult to interpret because a student could score 65% (with scores in the subject ranging from 40%-68%) in one subject and 90% in another (with scores in this subject ranging from 80% - 98%) and parents did not know if these were the average scores in these two subjects. We therefore decided to undertake a process called standardisation of scores.
To standardise scores the mean (average) score for the entire cohort was calculated along with a measure of how spread out the scores were. These were then reset mathematically so an average score was worth 70 and the spread of the scores controlled. This means that a student could achieve 90% in a common assessment but, if most other students also achieved 90%, the standardised score would be 70. This allows you a more useful comparison to the other subject where the 65% was perhaps the top score in the entire year and the standardised score is perhaps 95.
Interpreting the scores
It’s important to note that because a standardised score has been set to 70 it doesn’t mean that a score of 69 is “poor” because it is below average. With any distribution of this type the vast majority of students’ scores will fall somewhere between 55 and 85. Projecting our scores forward to potential GCSE outcomes we see that the majority of our students (74% in 2019) achieve a Grade 7 or better at GCSE.
Therefore, we used the following as a guide to interpreting the results:
What it allows you to do is to compare your daughter’s achievement more consistently across the range of subjects as the scores are now comparable, for example:
As with all such data it is important to remember that it is a snapshot of data at a point in time. The student above might have been feeling unwell during the French assessment or had just found that topic a little confusing after returning from an absence. As such it should be the start of a conversation.
As parents/carers you can also compare these scores over time to see if your daughter’s relative strengths have changed. It is though important to note a student’s score would not necessarily be expected to improve over time as the cohort will also be improving. Hence if a student’s score was 60 at the end of Year 7 and is still 60 in the first term of Year 8 at Christmas then they are still showing a good understanding in the subject despite the content having got harder. However, this is again with the important warning not to read too much into one score or set of scores.
These scores are not used in anyway to determine future qualifications or awards by the school.