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Up until September 2014 state schools were required to use a standard system of assessing and reporting pupil's attainment and progress, these were known as National Curriculum Levels. However this is now being removed and schools are able to choose their own arrangements, although they still have to track progress and report it to parents.
Sale High School is part of group of schools known as PiXL, this is group of over 6000 schools who have been working together to develop a new way of assessing progress which the PiXL schools will follow.
The model which has been developed is called Steps. We, like the other PIXL schools, are trialling this model with Year 7.
What this means for your child
In Year 7 your child will follow the steps model. At the beginning of a scheme of work (topic), the teacher will test your child to see what they can and cannot do which will give them their initial step for example this maybe step 2. This will let the teacher and the student know what they need to work on to get to the next step on the ladder. At the end of the scheme of learning they will be assessed again to see what progress they have made, hopefully they will find that they have moved up a step or steps. There are 9 steps on the ladder.
When your child reaches KS4 so Y10 & Y11 the steps become their grades as the Government is also removing letter grades i.e. A, B, C and replacing them with number grades. A step 1 or 2 will be the equivalent of a G grade, step 5 will be the equivalent of a C grade and a step 8 will equate to an A*.
We plan for the Steps model to roll though to Year 8.
The current Year 8 will continue to follow the National Curriculum levels and so there is no change in the way they are assessed. They will move to the GCSE criteria in Year 9 as detailed below.
Year 9 students will now be assessed using the GCSE criteria. This is what normally happens in Y10 & Y11 but so we can stretch the students as much as possible we have decided to introduce them to grades in Year 9. The model below explains how we will measure progress. We have called this their Flight Path. For all subjects apart from English and Maths, students currently in Year 9 will receive a letter grade in their final examinations.
Current Year 9s will be the first cohort to study the new style GCSE which will see them receiving a number grade in their final GCSE examinations in Year 11.
As a parent you may be concerned by the difference between your childs' level in year 8 compared to the grade they are assessed at when they start year 9.
Sam was assessed as a Level 7 in his report at the end of year for Geography. However after the first half term in Year 9 he is being assessed as Grade E.
Although this seems a big drop, it isn't to do with Sam's ability it is more to do with the a greater demands of the syllabus under the GCSE criteria, i.e. Sam needs to be able to do more to move up a Grade than he did to move up a level in Year 8.
Current Year 10 & 11
There is no change to the assessment process for these year groups.