Grading and Assessment
Schools in the UK do not generally rank pupils within their year nor give Grade Point Averages (GPAs). Instead, the British educational system uses “Levels” to gauge a student's academic progress.
National Curriculum levels
During their time at school, children will take a number of National Curriculum tests (SATs – Statutory Assessment Tasks). These are compulsory in England at the end of Years 2 and 6 (age 7 and 11) and there are optional tests for Years 3, 4 and 5 of primary school (Key Stage 2) and Years 7, 8 and 9 of secondary school (Keys Stage 3). The outcome of these tests is expressed as a National Curriculum level.
- There are eight National Curriculum levels, covering the ages 5-14 years.
- The lowest is Level 1, which describes the achievements of children at around the age of five. The highest is Level 8, which is attained by the most able pupils at the age of 14.
- Children move up through the levels at a rate of approximately one level for each two years of school.
To find the National Curriculum level, the teachers and external markers who mark the National Curriculum Y6 and Y9 tests, are given a score range that corresponds to each level. So, for example, in the English tests taken by 11-year-old children, there is a total possible score of 100. A score of at least 24 may be needed for Level 3, 44 for Level 4 and 69 for Level 5. These figures can be expected to change slightly from year to year.
National Curriculum levels are also used by teachers to make their own assessments of children (see below), based on their ongoing work rather than on a test. The National Curriculum includes level descriptions for each level, for each subject, and the teacher makes a judgment as to which level is the best overall description of the child’s achievement. These Teacher Assessment levels are reported alongside the levels resulting from the tests.
Because of our students’ work ethos, supportive parents, good levels of teaching and resourcing, the majority of our students are expected to achieve in the following range for our core Key Stage Standardised Assessment Tasks (SATs) subjects:
SFBS expected Level
Over 85% of our students achieve in the Level 5 range in each of the core subjects in Key Stage 2 (Y6/G5) SATs and, for Key Stage 3 (Y9/G8) in the Level 7 range for English and Science and Mathematics.
There is no official method of equating British and other country’s primary and secondary educational qualifications. The educational systems are often entirely different and attempts to compare them must be done on a strictly provisional basis -there are thus no defined Level/GPA equivalents. However, recent research has shown that, for our Y7-9 (G6-8) within SFS, the following broad band comparisons may be made:
Level 5 is in the range 81-86 Level 6 is in the range 85-91 Level 7 is in the range 88-100
Your child’s teacher will carry out regular checks on their progress in each subject as a normal part of their teaching. At the end of Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 they will carry out a formal “teacher assessment”, indicating which National Curriculum level best describes your child’s performance in each area of learning during the school year. These are reported to parents as part of the end of year report.
Reports are shared with parents and students three times during the year; short, formative reports are shared just before each of the two Parent/Teacher conferences – normally in October/November and February/March. The final, fuller, narrative report is shared at the end of the academic year.
The system SFBS has developed for its reports to parents is on a standard 5-point scale – the gaps between a three or four point scale were too wide, giving rise to ‘B/C’ or ‘A/B’ comments and we feel that a 5 point scale allows for a finer grading. This is, in fact, standard for British, externally assessed examinations.
At SFBS, ‘C’ is a ‘Good’ – that means the student is meeting expectations for OUR school and our students. The students we have here at SFBS are expected to score above the usual England norms, so our ‘C’ level can be equated to many ‘B’ levels in other systems. If you can imagine a bell curve graph with 100 at the top centre; our bell curve graph tops at between 110-120, so a ‘C’ – a ‘Good’ - is high.