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Key Stage 3 Assessments

The government has changed the way schools assess students. At the end of their primary education (year 6), students no longer receive a level but are awarded a ‘fine points score’. Later, at the end of GCSE, subjects are gradually moving from a familiar system of A*-G grades to a new system of grading with numbers from 9-1. (Year 11 students will receive a mixture of letters (A*-G) and numbers (9-1) this year, depending on the subjects they study.) In addition to this, the structure of GCSEs has been made more rigorous and standards have been raised; a good ‘pass’ has been moved from a grade C to a new grade 5 (which equates
to a high C / low B in the old system).

Consequently, secondary schools have been given complete freedom over the way they assess and set targets for students in years 7 to 9 (this is known as Assessment without Levels). At Lytchett Minster School we feel it is vitally important for students to receive new targets as soon as possible in order to prepare them for the new GCSEs. 

Changes to Years 7 to 9

The old system of levels (5a, 5b, 5c) will no longer be used and teaching content has also changed. To ensure that we all monitor progress effectively, the school has developed a new approach to KS3 assessment which uses five ‘threshold’ measures. These are:

  • Exceptional
  • Advanced
  • Secure
  • Developing
  • Foundation

We look carefully at what students have achieved prior to arriving at Lytchett (i.e. their KS2 results) and set an expected ‘threshold’ as a consequence. This threshold aligns with the grades we expect students (based on national models of progression from KS2 to KS4) to achieve at GCSE. Students will be expected to achieve at least the targeted threshold in each of years 7, 8 and 9. They can of course move up a threshold but would not normally be expected to fall below it. Teachers will give regular feedback to students comparing their performance against these thresholds and we will continue as a school to report to parents on three occasions throughout the year indicating their child’s progress.

What do the 'Thresholds' look like?

The table below demonstrates how we will use the KS2 levels that were awarded for current year 8 and 9 students to set a threshold and how a student nationally would typically progress towards their GCSEs. New Year 7 thresholds will be set according to the fine points score awarded by their primary schools. This will happen a little later in the Autumn term.

Threshold Previous KS2 levels New GCSE grades Old/previous comparable GCSE grading system
Exceptional 6A-6C 9 A*
Exceptional 5A 8 A*
Advanced 5B 7 A1
Advanced 5C 6/7 A2
Secure 4A 6 B2
Secure 4B 5/6 B3
Developing 4C 4/5 C1
Foundation 3A 4 D1
Foundation 3B 3/4 D2
Foundation 3C 3 D3