Your child's progress and formal assessments

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At a glance

Information about how your child’s progress at school is formally assessed, explaining Key Stage levels and how the school will keep you informed.

How’s my child getting on at school?

It’s natural to wonder how your child is doing at school, and you’re entitled to information about their progress.

It’s important to listen or carefully read any feedback you get, since it can be complicated. Don’t be afraid to approach teachers and ask questions about what the different grades and results mean. Try to keep an open mind about your child’s progress – don’t assume that things will always stay the same, or that because you weren’t good at maths your child won’t be either. Try not to compare your child with other children in your family or their class.

The key issues to be aware of are how your child is managing school life and academic work, and how they get on with their classmates and teachers.

How is progress measured?

During Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 (Years 1-9 ) each subject has a series of eight levels. These are used to measure your child’s progress compared with other pupils of the same age across the country.

The levels are:

Levels 1-3 in Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2, ages 4-7)Most pupils are at Level 2 by the end of Key Stage 1
Levels 2-5 in Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6, ages 7-11) Most pupils are at Level 4 by the end of Key Stage 2
Levels 3-7 in Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9, ages 11-14)Most pupils are at Level 5/6 by the end of Key Stage 3

Formal assessments

Children are formally assessed at the end of Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 (these tests are sometimes called SATs - Standard Assessment Tasks). At the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2, aged 7) they’ll be assessed by their teacher, with the help of informal tests, in literacy, maths and science.

At the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6, aged 11) they’ll be assessed through national tests in English, maths and science. You’ll be sent their test results.

At the end of Key Stage 3 (Year 9, aged 14), your child will be assessed by their teachers in all subjects.

In Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11, ages 14 to 16) teachers assess pupils’ work to predict how well they might do in GCSE exams. The final measure of their attainment in Key Stage 4 is their actual GCSE results, published after they finish Year 11.

How you’re informed

You’ll receive a report at least once a year from your child’s school. This won’t necessarily be at the end of the school year.

The report will cover the results of any tests your child has taken, if they’re at an appropriate Key Stage, and teacher assessment levels for their attainment. At the end of each Key Stage, you’ll also receive the results for all children in your child’s age group in the school, and the national results for the previous year.

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