For a filmed explanation of KS3 assessment at King's please click here
How Students are Assessed
Teachers assess students work continuously and at the end of units of work as well as at the end of each
year. The continuous assessment is often referred to as formative assessment whereas assessment that takes
place at the end of a piece of work is usually referred to as summative assessment.
Continuous, ongoing (formative) assessment
- The purpose of formative assessment is to monitor student learning and provide ongoing
feedback to staff and students. It is sometimes called assessment for learning. It helps
students identify their strengths and weaknesses, can enable them to improve their self-regulatory skills so
that they manage their education well and it provides information to staff about the areas students are
struggling with so that sufficient support can be put in place.
- Formative assessment can be teacher led, peer or self-assessment. Formative assessments have low stakes
and usually carry no grade.
- Feedback from formative assessment may be in the form of marks, comments or discussion and these may be
communicated in writing or verbally.
End of unit and year (summative) assessment
- The aim of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of a section
of work by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. Sometimes, for example in Key Stages 4 and 5
that will be in relation to GCSE and A Level criteria although sometimes it will be a mark out of a total
referenced to standardised mark schemes.
- Summative assessments often appear to be high stakes and may be treated by the students as the priority
over formative assessments.
- Feedback from summative assessments is also used formatively by both students and staff to guide their
efforts and activities in subsequent learning.
- In Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9) we use Stage Ladders for end of year summative assessment. In all subjects this will consider
their learning throughout the year. In subjects where there is an end of year examination or equivalent
then we also use Stage Ladders to feedback on this.
Subject leaders across the Russell Education Trust have worked collaboratively to draw up these Stage Ladders
which set out clear descriptors for what students know and can do as their attainment improves in each
subject. Some subjects may use these descriptions of learning during the year and some will assess units of
work summatively using marks out of a total.
There is one Ladder per subject, although there are multiple strands within the ladder for different skills
(e.g. in Modern Foreign Languages where students are assessed on their reading, writing, speaking and
What progress are students expected to make?
We would expect students to make one stage of progress per academic year.
This means that students will be progressing well if they move from Stage 2 on entry to Stage 3 at the end of
Year 7, Stage 4 in Year 8 and Stage 5 at the end of Year 9. The attainment described in Stage 5 of the ladders
represents good progress for most students in Key Stage 3 and readiness to continue the subject to a good GCSE
pass in Key Stage 4.
Stages do describe attainment at higher levels than this (up to Stage 7) and many of our students will make
more than one stage of progress in some years and move into Key Stage 4 having reached Stage 6 or 7. These
students will be well placed to achieve very high grades in their GCSEs.
Typical stages that the majority of students will reach are summarised below: