Assessment without levels


Following the introduction of a new National Curriculum framework in September 2014, the government decided to remove level descriptors.  The government’s policy of removing level descriptors from the National Curriculum is set out in terms of freeing schools from an imposed measure of pupil progress. The Department for Education has said that levels are not very good with respect to helping parents to understand how far their child is improving. In their place, from September 2014, “it will be for schools to decide how they assess pupils’ progress”.

Our focus is now on raising the achievement of every pupil; St. Paul’s governors, leaders and teachers have chosen a new way to measure pupil attainment and progress.

  • Reception children will have a baseline assessment for those beginning full time education when they start school in September.
  • All year groups will be assessed against new National Curriculum descriptors.


St. Paul’s Primary School Assessment System. 

In order for teachers to assess where children are within the new curriculum descriptors for each year group, baseline assessments using PIRA and PUMA tests are made at the beginning of the year and at the end of each term. This enables us to track progress throughout the year. The assessment tools we use enable us to be robust in tracking pupils' progress accross the school, throughout the year and not just at the end of a Key Stage.


The principles that underpin our new assessment system are:

  • Teachers at St. Paul’s have the mindset, that every child can achieve and will ask themselves, ‘What do I need to do next to enable a child in my class to achieve?’
  • The National Curriculum objectives will be used as the expectations for all children.
  • Children will make age appropriate progress – 12 months in one academic year.
  • Teachers are experts at assessment - assessment will be effectively used to ensure the correct scaffolding is built into lessons to ensure all children achieve their full potential.


In order to be ‘secondary ready’ children need to meet the required end of Key Stage 2 expectations; this is broken down into key outcomes for each curriculum year. We use the National Curriculum objectives to assess outcomes for children at the end of each curriculum year – for example:

A child that has achieved all the objectives set out for Year 3 for English (and no further) would be said to be working at the end of Year 3 expectation for English – mastering all their objectives. A child achieving half or some of the mathematics objectives for Year 4 would be classed as working at the mid-Year 4 expectation for maths – expected/secure in their progress.

A child achieving only a few reading objectives for Year 1 would be classed as working at the beginning of Year 1 expectation – emerging/working towards the standards in their progress.


Our assessment and reporting system includes:

  • Ongoing assessment by the class teacher throughout each lesson, through questioning, observation and dialogue.
  • Children knowing what they are being asked to learn and more importantly, why.
  • Success Criteria are discussed and agreed with or formulated during each lesson, work is then assessed against the success criteria.
  • Three way feedback, pupil, peer, teacher with clearly identified next steps – this can be written or verbal feedback.
  • Regular sample checking of pupil workbooks.

All of the above will feed into 'Data snap-shots'. These will take place at class, phase and subject level three times a year, towards the end of each term.


Tracking progress over time

We will use the SIMs System to track pupils' progress over time, against age-related expectations in each subject area:

  • Emerging
  • Developing
  • Secure, reflecting that age-related objectives have been achieved
  • Mastering, showing that age-related objectives have been achieved and the child is working at a deeper level of understanding and application


The SIMs System and tracking scheme are the back-bone to track progress across the school.  These will be recorded on system as “E”, “D”, “S” or “M”


We will be replacing Average Point Scores (APS) with Tracking Points. Tracking Points can be used to examine progress and attainment numerically (as an average).


The Tracking Point scale starts at Tracking Point 1, which is the first term in the first year in Nursery. This can then be counted up to Tracking Point 15 (the end of Year 2) and Tracking Point 27 (the end of Year 6).  All year groups move on 3 tracking points in a year, one for each of the Golden Codes.  The expectation is that children make 12 months progress in one academic year.


More able children

For children who have securely met the end of year objectives they will be assessed as exceeding or mastering objectives for their age group.  Rather than moving onto the next year’s curriculum these children will work on ‘mastering’ their knowledge through the application of skills in different contexts – they will be advancing and deepening their learning.

The depth and application of a child’s learning is an important marker of their achievement and progress.


Early Years - Nursery & Reception

Children in Nursery and Reception will continue to be assessed against the Prime and Specific areas of Learning in the EYFS profile.

Assessments will be based on observation of daily activities and events. At the beginning of September in Reception teachers will be using the NFER baseline assessment to assess where children are in accessing the EYFS curriculum. At the end of Reception for each Early Learning Goal, teachers will judge whether a child is meeting the level of development expected at the end of the Reception year:

  • Emerging, not yet reached the expected level of development
  • Expected
  • Exceeding, beyond the expected level of development for their age 

Progress will be tracked using Tracking Points (see above).

Reporting to Parents

Discussions at parent, teacher, consultation meetings in the Autumn and Spring terms will be based on the assessment system in place for each age group.  We will produce a new style individual interim report in the Spring term and a new annual report at the end of the Summer term.


Back to Home Page
logo logo logo logo logo