Whitstable Junior School

Assessment in the New National Curriculum


The removal of levels as assessment

From September 2014 children will no longer be assessed and awarded a level (with the exception of this year’s Year 2 and Year 6). There are no longer levelled assessments and there is no national assessed levelling system, it is up to individual schools to have their own assessment systems. There is however an expectation that all schools will be able to assess children’s learning, progress and attainment and that this information can be compared with assessment outcomes in other schools and can be easily understood by parents and children.

As you can imagine this is an enormous undertaking for all schools, especially as there has been no guidance or indication from the Government as to what assessment should look like or what it should measure.

Currently we are in a transition period, since the removal of National Curriculum Levels descriptors and the implementation of the New Curriculum. During this period of transition (Autumn 2014) we will continue to use the existing national curriculum levels and work in partnership with the three other town centre schools and the other 15 schools in the Coastal Alliance along with consultants and other groups of schools to design a new assessment tool – the steps system -  which will be aligned to the expectations of the new national curriculum.  We intend to implement a “professional learning” programme for our teaching staff throughout 2014-15 which will ensure confidence and rigour in the implementation of new systems of assessment, which will be fully in place by the end of this academic year.

In the meantime, we continue to believe that effective assessment provides information to improve teaching and learning. We will be giving learners regular feedback on their learning so that they understand what it is that they need to do better. This allows us to base our lesson plans on a detailed knowledge of each pupil. We will continue to give parents regular written and verbal reports on their child’s progress so that teachers, children and parents are all working together to raise standards for all our children.

This school statement needs to be read in conjunction with our Assessment, Marking and Feedback Policy which is available on our school website.

Aims for a whole school approach to assessment:

  • to enable our children to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do in their work;
  • to help our children understand what they need to do next to improve their work;
  • to allow teachers to plan work that accurately reflects the needs of each child;
  • to provide regular information for parents that enables them to support their child’s learning;
  • to provide school leaders and governors with information that allows them to make judgements about the effectiveness of the school.

Assessment is not a singular activity; it is about measurement of performance at a given point in time and a way of gaining information to promote future learning. Our first point of principle should be to hold on to aspects of assessment that aim to measure what we value rather than simply valuing what we are able to measure. Secondly, we acknowledge that there are two distinct types of assessment used by the school. These include:

  • Assessment for learning helps to identify the next steps needed to make progress. It takes account of pupils’ strengths as well as weaknesses
  • Assessment of learning is more associated with judgements based on grades and ranks and with public accountability.

Our new assessment system will enable us to do both.

Timescale for moving to the steps system:

This will be a gradual process to ensure that it is smooth, that we can always prove progress and that all stakeholders understand how the new process works. This will be a carefully planned move as we will be working on the Steps Assessment System with other schools from the Coastal Alliance and a group of Dover schools. The following plan may be modified as CA plans / network input develops.



Term 1           

Teacher Assessment collected as sublevels and entered into SIMS / Assessment Manager still as the old points system to sustain progress tracking

End of Term 1

Establish Town Centre Schools common approach / agreement to principle of common assessment system / moderation and explore Dover Steps System with a view to introducing to Coastal Alliance.

End of Term 2

Data inputted in SIMS / Assessment Manager in both points and sublevels and steps.

Levels/sub levels and Steps shared with parents.

End of Term 3

Data inputted in SIMS / Assessment Manager in both points and sublevels and steps.

Consider the validity of Levels / sub levels data & review this decision.

Term 3

Liaise with Liz Windon / CA regarding populating SIMS / Assessment manager with Term 1 steps data to be able to demonstrate in year progress.

Term 4

Data inputted in SIMS / Assessment Manager in both points and sublevels and steps.

Consider the validity of Levels / sub levels data & review this decision.

Term 4

Reports to parents – both sets of data shared but with greater emphasis on Steps and explanation for the new system.

Terms 5 & 6

Data inputted in Steps only – except for Year 6 who will have to do both.

Term 6

Teacher assessment shared with parents – steps only, except for Year 6 who will have to report Levels / sub-levels.