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Assessment without levels


Following the introduction of a new National Curriculum framework from September 2014, the government has also decided to remove level descriptors.  The government’s policy of removing level descriptors from the National Curriculum is set out in terms of freeing schools from an imposed measure of pupil progress. The Department for Education has said that levels are not very good with respect to helping parents to understand how far their child is improving. In their place, from September 2014, “it will be for schools to decide how they assess pupils’ progress”.


With levels removed and the focus now on raising the achievement of every pupil, the governors, leaders and teachers at The Berkeley Academy have chosen a new way to measure pupil attainment and progress.


During the academic year 2014-15, the school was in a period of transition from old levels to new assessment descriptors, ready for implementation September 2015:

  • Nursery and Reception assessments are not changing in school or nationally.
  • Year groups 1,2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are being assessed against new National Curriculum objectives


Our new assessment system 

The old and new curriculum have different content. Many of the objectives in the old curriculum have shifted to lower year groups in the new, more rigorous curriculum, this means it is not possible to have an exact correlation between a level that was the outcome of the old National Curriculum assessment and the requirements of the new National Curriculum, this means a shift in thinking and in the way we assess our children’s outcomes.


The school has welcomed the changes in the National Curriculum and saw it as an exciting opportunity to review our curriculum, however we were very clear that whatever assessment tool we used, it needed to be robust and track pupils’ progress across the school and not just at the end of a Key Stage. We have decided to continue to use ITrack, which is an online tracking system and have therefore the benefit of retaining and transferring historical data, whilst completing baseline assessments to find out children’s starting points for the new national curriculum during this transitional period.


We are now assessing children against the new framework, one for which they may have not been taught the previous years’ objectives and content, so we are in a time of transition between old and new sets of data. 


The principles that underpin our new assessment system are:

  • Every child can achieve: teachers at The Berkeley have the mindset, ‘What do I need to do next to enable a child in my class to achieve?’ and encourage children to reflect on what they need to do next.
  • The National Curriculum objectives will be used as the expectations for all children.
  • Children will make age appropriate progress – 12 months in 12 months.
  • Teachers are experts at assessment - assessment will be effectively used to ensure the correct scaffolding is built into lessons to ensure all children achieve.


Our assessment and reporting system includes:

  • Ongoing assessment by the class teacher throughout each lesson, through questioning, observation and dialogue.
  • Children knowing what they are being asked to learn and more importantly, why.
  • Success Criteria are discussed and agreed with or formulated by the children during each lesson, work is then assessed against the success criteria.
  • Three way feedback, pupil, peer, teacher with clearly identified next steps – this can be written or verbal feedback.
  • Regular pupils’ work scrutiny.
  • standardised tests throughout the year to support our judgements.

All of the above will feed into data points each half term. Then more in depth assessment and analysis will take place at class, phase and subject level three times a year, towards the end of each term.


In order to be ‘secondary ready’ children need to meet the required end of Key Stage 2 expectations; this is broken down into key outcomes for each curriculum year. We use the National Curriculum objectives to assess outcomes for children at the end of each curriculum year – for example:

  • A child that has achieved all the objectives set out for Year 3 for English (and no further) and can use these skills independently, would be said to be working at the end of Year 3 expectation for English. (Year 3 secure)
  • A child achieving half or so of the mathematics objectives for Year 5, or can achieve the objectives with support would be classed as working at the mid-Year 5 expectation for maths. (Year 5 developing)
  • A child achieving only a few reading objectives independently for Year 1, or requires support to achieve them, would be classed as working at the beginning of Year 1 expectation. (Year 1 entering)


Note:- End of year expectation is to be year group secure i.e. Year 3 secure


Tracking progress over time

We will track pupils' progress over time, against age-related expectations in each subject area:

  • Emerging
  • Developing
  • Secure, reflecting that age-related objectives have been achieved
  • Mastering, showing that age-related objectives have been achieved and the child is working at a deeper level of understanding and application


The progress terms and tracking scheme are the back-bone to track progress across the school. 


We will be replacing Average Point Scores (APS) with progress steps. Progress is measured by the number of steps a pupil has made over the selected period. If three steps of progress are made over a 12 month period then progress is judged to be expected. If more than three steps are made over the selected period then progress is said to be good or very good (five or more steps).


  •  If a pupil is “Year 2 Secure” at the end of year 2 and progresses to be year 3 Secure at the end of year 3 then this isExpected Progress.
  • If a pupil is “Year 2 Secure” at the end of year 2 and progresses to be year 3 Developing at the end of year 3 then this isBelow Expected Progress
  • If a pupil is “Year 2 Secure” at the end of year 2 and progresses to be year 3 Mastered or Year 4 entering  at the end of year 3 then this is Good Progress
  • For year 1 it is assumed that a pupil assessed as year 1 secure at the end of year 1 has made Expected Progress. 


More able children

For children who have securely met the end of year objectives they will be assessed as exceeding or mastering objectives for their age group.  Rather than moving onto the next year’s curriculum, these children will work on ‘mastering’ their knowledge through the application of skills in different contexts – they will be deepening their learning. The depth and application of a child’s learning is an important marker of their achievement and progress.


Early Years - Nursery & Reception

Children in Reception will continue to be assessed against the Prime and Specific areas of Learning in the EYFS profile.


Assessments will be based on observation of daily activities and events. At the end of Reception for each Early Learning Goal, teachers will judge whether a child is meeting the level of development expected at the end of the Reception year:

  • Emerging, not yet reached the expected level of development
  • Expected
  • Exceeding, beyond the expected level of development for their age 

Progress will be tracked against Baseline assessments.


Reporting to Parents 

Discussions at parent, teacher, consultation meetings in the Autumn and Spring terms will be based on the new assessment system in place.  We will review the format of the individual annual report at the end of the Summer term in line with the school’s assessment policy.