Assessment at KS3

‘More generally, in top performing education systems the curriculum is not mile-wide and inch-deep, but tends to be rigorous, with a few things taught well and in great depth’

Tim Oates -Group Director of Assessment Research and Development at Cambridge Assessment

The PACE threshold system of assessment

The replacement for national curriculum levels at BCA is called the PACE thresholds system. This was developed at the academy  in the academic year 2014-2015 and implemented in the school from September 2015.

Principals of the assessment system

We wanted a system to replace levels that:

  • Ensures students were well prepared for KS4 and beyond
  • Is based on depth of learning  rather than pace of learning
  • Provides a high level of challenge for all students
  • Ensures regular summative and formative assessment
  • Measures the progression of students against challenging estimates

The thresholds

Key Stage 2 information is used to assign students a challenging threshold.

Threshold Potential GCSE attainment (grades) Potential GCSE attainment (new)
Mastery A*-A 9-7
Enhancing B 7-6
Securing C/D 5-4
Developing E/F/G 3-1

Within each threshold students are allocated an individual estimate based on potential GCSE attainment.

M+ 9
M 8
M 7
E+ 6
E 5
S+ 4
S 3
D+ 2
D 1

Flight plans

Flight Plan 1

Flight plans are used to monitor the progress of students towards threshold estimates. These are added to student books and updated after each data point. These enable students to see how they are progressing towards their threshold estimate. The example (below) illustrates this.

Flight Plan 2

Curricular provision

When planning curricular provision subjects have used CPD time to examine the requirements of the new GCSE’s or DfE guidance. From this they have worked backwards to ensure that the content and skills needed for success in Key Stage 4 is incorporated into Key Stage 3.Unnecessary subject content that does not prepares students for Key Stage 4 and beyond has been discarded.

Reporting to parents

Regular formative and summative assessment allows the students’ progress to be tracked against what is expected through a ‘flight plan’ system. This means that the school can accurately measure and report to parents whether students are exceeding, achieving or are below their threshold estimate for each subject.  If students are not making progress in line with, or above, that expected early intervention is put into place to address this. If students are regularly exceeding their threshold they are assigned a more challenging threshold.