Assessment & Reporting
At GWA, our assessment system aims to further enhance the quality of teaching and learning so that our pupils make outstanding progress and have a strong foundation for achieving success at GCSE, A Level and beyond.
The assessment system at GWA
is aspirational and challenging while giving pupils a sense of achievement
provides a precise and robust measure of pupil progress and attainment
makes clear to pupils the knowledge, understanding and skills that they have mastered and the next steps they need to take in their learning
gives reliable information to parents about how their child is performing is fully coherent with the reformed GCSEs.
Baseline ('on entry') Assessment
In order to be clear that students are making progress we need clear benchmarks against which to measure. Key Stage 2 outcomes are very important, and are our main reference point. However, we are conscious that these do not tell the whole story – or that this data may be missing for some students – so we also ensure students sit Cognitive Abilities Tests (CAT) and Reading Age (STAR) tests as soon as possible after arrival to GWA. We aspire to be well inside the top 20% of schools nationally for progress from Key Stage 2 and will set internal targets accordingly.
Regular, formative assessment is an expectation of all teachers in all subjects. Students are entitled to constructive feedback on all assessed pieces of work and are expected to demonstrate they have responded to the feedback provided. Teachers assess learning against the knowledge and skills statements provided in schemes of work and keep records of the quality of work from each student.
More formal assessment tests take place in each core subject at least three times per year with one of these being a formal exam in the summer term. Even these assessments are seen as formative, with teachers using them to identify areas of the curriculum which need further work, and students expected to respond to areas of the assessment where their learning needs consolidation or improvement.
Tracking Student Progress
Teachers track the progress of their students through the regular, formative assessments described above, keep records of this, and discuss the progress with their subject and year group leaders as and when required.
Results are compared with expected progress from Key Stage 2 point and with the students’ previous grades. This analysis, together with the attitudes to learning grades provided as part of each termly reporting cycle, is used to identify students who need particular congratulation for their progress and those who may need some form of intervention in order to accelerate their progress.
Our SENDCo pays particular attention to the progress of students on the SEN register and reviews the provision for them accordingly. Heads of Faculty and Heads of House update their Departmental and Pastoral Improvement and Intervention Plans to provide appropriate challenge and support for individuals and cohorts of learners as appropriate.
Intervention to improve learning may need to take place at subject level or as more holistic support for a particular issue such as confidence, social skills, exam technique, behaviour, or homework.
At each reporting sessions students have personal conversations with their tutor, leading to them updating their Individual Learning Plans targets.
Great Western Academy Assessment at Key Stage 3
Assessment at key stage 3 is based on a 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest) grade scale. The grade a student is working at during Key Stage 3 broadly reflects the standard we would expect them to be at in order to progress to achieve the same grade at GCSE, and the knowledge, skills and understanding required for each grade feature in our medium-term schemes of learning to allow for this progression. For example, a student achieving a grade 5 for a particular subject in Year 9 would broadly be ‘on track’ for achieving a grade 5 in the same subject at GCSE. However, it is important to understand that rates of student progress often vary over time and may differ between subjects. Therefore, the grades a student achieves during Key Stage 3 may be an indicator of possible achievement at GCSE, but are not the school’s prediction of a pupil’s GCSE outcomes.
The diagram below illustrates how the 1-9 grade system works from Year 7 to Year 11. In this model, standards for each grade get progressively harder from one year to the next during Key Stage 3. This means that if a student achieves the same grade in Year 7, 8 and 9, they are making good progress. This is because the standard needed to achieve each grade gets progressively more challenging. If the grade they achieve increases in years 7-9, they are making rapid progress. However, if the grade they achieve falls during Key Stage 3 this indicates a student is making insufficient progress.
Progressively more challenging during Key Stage 3
1-9 Progress from Years 7-11
Each subject area has a ‘Progress Map’ which details to students and their parents the necessary standard to achieve each grade for, typically, 3-4 assessment objectives. An assessment objective is a key strand of learning that is taught and assessed in a subject. These progress maps have been designed to make assessment at Key Stage 3 coherent with assessment at GCSE. Progress Maps are used in lessons to illustrate to students the grade they are achieving and the ‘next steps’ they need to take in their learning in order to improve further.
Please use the links below to access the Key Stage 3 Progress Maps for each subject areas:
Assessment, Recording and Reporting to Parents
Engaging with parents and helping them to play a key role in student success will always have a high priority at GWA. Contact is not limited to the ‘formal’ opportunities described in this section. In addition, parents are provided with a weekly summary of home learning set, turned in and overdue in our MS Teams updates. This helps parents to see what learning has been set for completion at home and assist students in keeping track of deadlines. Parents can contact teaching and/or pastoral staff at any time and are encouraged to contact teachers where any concerns arise. Similarly, teachers and support staff will contact parents where praise is due, or when concerns arise.
Parents receive three annual reports and at least one formal consultation evening (two in Years 7, 10 and 12; one with the tutor and one with subject teachers) at which they will meet teachers of their children.
Reports contain ‘Attitudes to Learning’ scores for all year groups – three separate grades covering behaviour for learning, quality of classwork, and quality of homework. A mean score is calculated for each student across their subjects and included in the report together with the year group mean for comparison purposes. In addition, we intend to report progress against the enterprise skills of presenting, listening, problem solving, creativity, leadership and teamwork.
In Years 7 and 8, reports will indicate whether students are ‘Making expected progress’, ‘Making more than expected progress’ or ‘Making less than expected progress’.
Reports also contain information about attendance and rewards, with year group information included as benchmarks for parents.
The final report of the year includes test scores achieved together with class or year group mean scores (as appropriate).
To view the Department for Education's School Performance website click here