The core purpose of assessment is to move students on in their learning in terms of their knowledge, understanding and skills. At Highdown School the two most important questions of assessment are (1) what are a student’s strengths? And (2) what does the student need to do to improve?

Assessment takes place on a range of timescales:

  • Ongoing assessment takes place during every lesson, with teachers and additional adults responding to gaps in the knowledge, understanding and skills to close these gaps. Both verbal and written feedback help inform immediate next steps
  • Periodic assessment occurs with unit/topic/skills-based assessments, e.g. longer pieces of assessment work or end of unit tests, which help identify student’s grasp of key knowledge, understanding and skills and to identify areas for further improvement and development
  • Summative assessment, for example examinations, which helps to measure a students’ grasp of a subject and their progress over time

All students will have a baseline assessment of aptitude (MidYIS test) in the first term of Year 7.

We assess student’s progress in a number of different ways:

  • Questioning and observation of written, oral and practical work

  • Monitoring of class work and marking of home learning
  • Setting and marking assessments, tests and examinations

Students are assessed based on examination grades in Years 10 to 13.

From September 2015 National Curriculum Levels have been removed as we move to a system of Assessment Without Levels. More information on this can be seen in the attachments linked at the bottom of this page and/or viewing this short video:

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At Highdown School, parents and carers will receive three reports in each academic year. These will provide information about their son or daughter’s attendance and punctuality, their behaviour, their attainment and their attitude to learning. One of these reports in each year will be accompanied by a more detailed report from their mentor.

(a) Predicted attainment (Years 10-13):

Based on all assessment completed at the time of the report and their professional knowledge/judgement, teachers will report the sublevel or fine grade they predict students will attain at the end of the course at Key Stage 4 or post-16, respectively.

Guide to fine-grade/level for predictions –

A: student will demonstrate strong knowledge, understanding and skills at this grade or level

B: student will demonstrate secure knowledge, understanding and skills at this grade or level

C: student will demonstrate some knowledge, understanding and skills at this grade or level. They are not secure at this grade or level

Predicted attainment will be colour-coded to indicate progress students are making towards their targets:

Green = meeting or exceeding their target

Yellow = within one grade of their target at GCSE/A-Level

White = two or more grades below target at GCSE/A-Level

(b) Ready to learn judgement:

O Outstanding: Student is always well-prepared for learning and is proactive in their learning

G Good: Student is usually well-prepared for, and makes positive contributions to, their learning

RI Requires improvement: Student is not always prepared for learning and does little more than required

P Poor: Student is rarely prepared for learning and lacks focus in lessons, often not completing work and/or displaying poor behaviour for learning.

This will be accompanied by an 'Aspect of learning to develop further' from the Readiness to Learn Continuum below. If the aspect reported is to 'engage with the subject in a wider context' we would expect students to be undertaking activities such as: additional reading around the subject, showing interest in relevant current affairs, taking part in extracurricular opportunities, etc.

(c) Current threshold (Years 7 to 9):

Excellence: your child should be aiming to achieve grade 8-9 at GCSE

Secure: your child should be aiming to achieve grade 6-9 at GCSE

Developing: your child should be aiming to achieve grade 4-9 at GCSE

Foundation: your child is on track to achieving at least a grade 3 at GCSE

+: If this appears alongside the current threshold then it indicates that your child is showing signs of working at the next threshold/higher standard.

We would expect students who attained the Expected Standard at Key Stage 2 to achieve grades 4-9 at the end of Year 11. A grade 4 at GCSE is considered a 'standard pass' and a grade 5 a 'strong pass'.

The target for every student in each year of Key Stage 3 [Years 7 to 9] is to achieve 'excellence'.

Thresholds are different to their predecessor, National Curriculum Levels, as each year has a different set of thresholds we would expect students to be able to achieve by the end of each year. For example, 'Secure' in Year 8 is more demanding than 'Secure' in Year 7. This is to reflect the journey towards being GCSE-ready by the end of Year 9. So, if a student's threshold was reported as 'Excellence' at the end of Year 8 and then 'Secure' early in Year 9, this does not mean their attainment has declined. It means they have not yet met the more demanding standard of 'Excellence' in Year 9.

(d) Current Flightpath (Years 7 to 9):

Each student has a Flightpath reported which indicates how they are currently attaining relative to their own starting points (based on KS2 Scores, MidYIS aptitude testing and/or subject baseline assessment).

The Flightpath is reported as:

  • Exceeding: your child is working beyond their flightpath at this time [Gold]
  • Meeting: your child is currently working at their flightpath [Green]
  • Not Yet Meeting: your child is currently not yet fully meeting their flightpath given their starting point [White]