You may be aware of national changes to KS3 assessment and at Stalham High we have been exploring the best ways to give feedback to students & parents in light of the removal of KS3 levels by the Department for Education.
Our departments set assessments for KS3 students that are rigourous in nature and designed to reflect the demands of KS4 assessment. These assessments are delivered at key points in the academic year and along with book work, practicals etc... They then inform our termly KS3 progress reporting.
With the removal of KS3 National Curriculum levels, schools are free to design their own assessment models. At Stalham High our departments have established success criteria that helps to prepare students for the demands of reformed GCSE examinations and life beyond school. Assessments are marked against this criteria with results being provided to students in the form of percentages.
Assessment data is compiled in our electronic markbooks which then allows departments to track student progress and stage intervention when necessary.
Changes to the way in which KS2 data is provided to secondary schools, alongside national changes to GCSE assessment, has meant that target setting should be approached with caution by schools and can, in some circumstances, have a damaging effect on learning.
As a school that works towards establishing a Growth Mindset and love of challenge amongst our learners and in line with schools across the country, we have taken the decision to no longer provide KS3 students with target grades. We simply encourage our students to respond actively to their teachers' feedback as they aim to produce the best work they can. Contemporary research shows the power of expectation and bias in education and we wish to ensure that our students' learning is unlimited!
Following assessment, teachers set tasks for students to complete during feedback sessions which focus on next steps towards success. It is engagement with these feedback tasks that will build students' learning over time rather than preoccupation with target grades.
Armed with KS2 data, GCSE specs and experience of cohorts over many years, our team of teachers have established rigourous success criteria that students are assessed against. This means that we are able to make judgments relating to progress that take into account personal start points and the ever changing world of public examinations/KS4 courses. We then provide termly reports for KS3 students that indicate whether a student is making 'expected progress', 'above expected progress' or 'below expected progress' for an individual with their background. This information will be of great use when a student considers their KS4 pathways at the end of Year 9.