Assessment

Corpus Christi Catholic College’s response to “Life without Levels”

Please read the letter from Vice Principal (11.2017) regarding Key Stage 3  assessment. Link

GCSE changes and the impact on assessment, marking and reporting

Over the next 3-4 years schools will face changes to the school curriculum, public exams and the accountability measures for exam performance.  In March 2014, the coalition government embarked on a radical programme to improve the assessment and examination systems across England requiring schools to abandon the use of levels in Key Stages 1, 2 and 3; no alternative was provided.  The purpose of this document is to make clear what the changes are and how we are responding to them.

We are now in the process of developing the practices of how teachers mark, assess and report on pupil progress.  For pupils in Key Stage 3, Years 7, 8 and 9, it is an across-the-board change to a number-based grading system and monitoring their progress towards attaining their target.  Year 10 are in a transition period with their final examination outcomes expressed as a mixture of grades and numbers. While Year 11 are the last year group to retain a grade-based system (A* – G) for all their GCSE results.

Public Examinations

New GCSEs in English language, English literature and mathematics were introduced this September, more subjects will follow next September.  These exams will be graded under a new 9-1 system.  The current A*-G grading (8 grades) will be replaced with a new nine point scale.

The purpose of this new grading regime is to provide greater differentiation, particularly amongst high achievers.  This is being accomplished by raising the standard of the benchmark midpoint grade.  The bottom of the current grade C will be broadly equivalent to the bottom of the new grade 4.  Grade 5 will be positioned in the top third of the marks for grade C and bottom third of marks for grade B.  A ‘good pass’, currently a grade C will become a grade 5 under the new scale.  Ministers intend that England’s exam benchmark is on a par with the world’s leading economies as measured by the international Pisa scale.

level2

The boundary of the new grade 4 will correspond to the boundary of the current grade C.  This suggests that the proportion of students currently achieving A*-C (4 grades) will be spread across grades 4-9 (6 grades), this will distinguish, more clearly, the top from the middle performers.

At the top end of the scale, broadly the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 7 and above as currently achieve an A or above, providing three top grades instead of two.  For each examination, the top 20% of those attaining grades 7 or higher will be awarded a grade 9.

At the other end of the scale it is proposed that the proportion of students who attain a grade 1 will be equivalent to those currently attaining grades F and G.  Although applicable to a small minority, for these students it can represent real progress.

School Accountability Measures

The 2015 examination results reflected a greater focus on GCSEs with fewer vocational subjects being counted in the performance measures.  2016 will bring more changes with the introduction of Attainment 8 and Progress 8 as the headline accountability measures.  These changes in accountability will impact on both attainment and entry encouraging most schools to adopt a more “traditional” (GCSE based) curriculum.  The government has stated that it expects students in our present Year 7 to study the EBacc throughout their school career, with the majority sitting examinations in these demanding subjects in 2020.  The College is now in the process of consultation regarding essential changes to our school curriculum.

A new national reference test will also be introduced. This is designed to provide extra information about a year group’s performance and to ensure that any changes year-on-year are reflected in the grades awarded. This test will cover English and mathematics, and be applied to a representative sample of year 11s across the country shortly before they take their GCSEs. If, overall, students’ performance in the reference test is better than in previous years, then the proportion of students in the national cohort achieving higher grades in that year may be increased accordingly. Such evidence is not currently used when exam boards make GCSE awards.

What is Progress 8?

progress8

Progress 8 will be used to measure the performance of pupils from summer 2016.  The measure will be based upon the pupil’s performance across eight subjects, divided into four groups:  English, mathematics, EBacc qualifications and an ‘Open group’.

This measure is based upon the progress made by a pupil in a range of subjects, not just English and mathematics, and includes vocational qualifications (BTEC).  It also encompasses the performance and progress of all pupils rather than focussing on grades C and above.

The Attainment 8 score will represent the average attainment of a pupil across the subjects included in the Progress 8 measure.  The Progress 8 score is a measure of the improvement made from the end of Year 6 using the KS2 ‘average point score’ and the Attainment 8 score.

There will be two more reported performance measures:  The percentage of pupils attaining grade C or better (grade 5 or better from 2017) in both English and mathematics and the proportion achieving the EBacc.  To achieve the EBacc pupils must attain a higher GCSE grade in English (language or literature), mathematics, a humanities subject, a language and two sciences.  The two sciences can be either core and additional (which will be replaced by the double award in 2016) or having studied three from biology, chemistry, physics and computer science attain higher grades in two.

Example of how the Attainment 8 and Progress 8 scores are calculated:

Carl – a higher ability pupil who started Corpus Christi with an average KS2 level 5b
Qualification Grade Points Included Doubled Total pts
1 English Language A* 8 Yes Yes, Eng Lit sat too 16
2 Mathematics B 6 Yes Maths always doubled 12
3 Biology B 6 Yes No 6
4 Business Studies A 7 Yes No 7
5 English Literature A 7 Yes No 7
6 Chemistry C 5 No, already have 3 for EBac          c qual 0
7 RE A 7 Yes 7
8 History A 7 Yes 7
9 Physics B 6 Yes 6
10 Graphics B 6 No, already have 8 qualifications 0
11 Spanish E 3 No, already have 8 qualifications 0
Attainment 8 score 68
Progress 8 score Progress 8 score = Attainment 8 score – Estimated Attainment 8 score

 

The estimated Attainment 8 score is based on Carl’s average KS2 level – level 5b equals 66.

68 -66 = +2

Dividing the Attainment 8 score by 10 gives 6.8 which shows that Carl’s average grade is between A and B.  Dividing his Progress 8 score by 10 gives an average score of +0.2 grades which means that Carl has achieved an average of one fifth of a grade better per subject than other pupils with the same prior attainment.

Julie- a lower ability pupil who started Corpus Christi with an average KS2 level 3a
Qualification Grade Points Included Doubled Total pts
1 English Language D 4 Yes Yes, Eng Lit sat too 8
2 Mathematics D 4 Yes Maths always doubled 8
3 Core science D 4 Yes No 4
4 Additional science E 3 Yes No 3
5 English Literature F 2 Yes No 2
6 RE E 3 Yes No 3
7 BTEC L1 Business Admin Pass 2.5 Yes No 2.5
8 BTEC L1 Construction Pass 2.5 No – open group full No 0
9 BTEC L1 Hospitalitry Pass 2.5 No –

open group full

No 0
Attainment 8 score 30.5
Progress 8 score Progress 8 score = Attainment 8 score – Estimated Attainment 8 score

 

The estimated Attainment 8 score is based on Julie’s average KS2 level – level 3a equals 35

30.5-35= -4.5

Dividing the Attainment 8 score by 10 gives 3.05 which shows that Julie’s average grade is an E.  Dividing her Progress 8 score by 10 gives an average score of -0.45 grades which means that Julie has achieved an average of almost half of a grade lower per subject than other pupils with the same prior attainment.

Creating a new assessment Policy

The NAHT set up an independent commission on testing and assessment in schools which was chaired by Lord Stewart of Sutherland.  Within the summary it recommended that schools should review their assessment practice and that staff should be involved in the evaluation of existing practice and the development of a new, rigorous assessment system and procedures which would promote high quality teaching and learning.

With this as our guiding principal the school will begin a comprehensive evaluation of how we assess pupils and how effectively we use pupil assessment information and data to improve learning in the classroom and at key points of transition between key stages and schools.  While this takes place there will be an interim model of assessment, based upon our marking policy, and reporting to parents.