Pupil Action Plans (PAP)
How is assessment at Key Stage 3 Changing from September 2016?
In September 2014 the government announced that National Curriculum Levels were to be abolished and not replaced. Instead, from September 2016, all secondary schools in England and Wales are required to publish their own 11-16 assessment policies, detailing how progress and attainment across Key Stage 3-4 will be assessed and reported. This guide explains how we plan to assess and report student achievement from September 2016 across Year 7, with a particular focus on the changes at Key Stage 3.
These changes give us the opportunity to introduce a new assessment system that addresses the concerns raised. It allows us to have a system that:
- Is simple and easy to understand for staff, pupils and parents
- Is based on high expectations and challenge
- Is linked to the curriculum and focuses on developing the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to succeed at KS4
- Encourages a growth mindset by providing pupils with action based feedback focusing on specific objectives
- Allows all pupils to be successful learners by focussing on the progress they make from their starting point
- Differentiates between pupils of different abilities, giving early recognition of pupils who are falling behind and those who are excelling
Pupil Action Planning (PAP)
Following each reporting session, pupils have the opportunity to plan their next steps to help them progress as a learner. This will be completed during a dedicated structured PAP session in form time. The objective is to help pupils to understand and evaluate their report so that meaningful actions can be created. Pupils will set themselves 'Actions to Support Progress' which will be transferred into their planners via the Pupil Action Plan report. These actions will be reviewed by subject teachers and signed off as complete when teachers are satisfied that pupils have met the requirements.
We report at regular intervals throughout the academic year and, each year, parents will receive three reports: 2 Performance Summary Reports & 1 Full Subject Report.
For each subject, teachers will indicate how well a pupil is working in relation to their assigned Growth Pathway. Alongside these, teachers will make an assessment on the pupils Attitude to Learning, Behaviour and Homework.
Full Subject Report
This report will contain the same data as the Performance Summary. In addition teachers will add comments which will form pupils' 'Actions to Support Progress'; these comments will give specific areas pupils must focus on in order to further develop along their pathway.
Why have National Curriculum Levels been abolished?
Levels were first introduced alongside the National Curriculum in 1988. For almost 30 years, they have provided schools, students and parents or carers with a universal language around assessment across Key Stage 1-3, as well as a common criteria against which achievement in individual subjects could be benchmarked, tracked and monitored.
Until this year, Levels were also used to report the results of Key Stage 1 and 2 statutory assessments (SATS) in Years 2 and 6. Following the abolition of Levels, for the first time this summer, SATS results were not reported in the form of Levels but rather as a scaled score in the range of 80-130. At KS2, the government's expectation is that 85% of all students meet the new 'secondary ready' score of 100 (roughly equivalent to a Level 4b previously).
The government's decision to remove Levels from the National Curriculum was motivated by a number of different factors. The main reasons were:
Accuracy and consistency
Levels were originally intended to be used as broad end-of-unit descriptors, providing students and parents with a best-fit summary of how well learners had mastered the knowledge and skills associated with individual subjects. In practise however, the increasingly widespread use of Levels to assess individual tasks and assignments, distorted this purpose.
Clarity and coherence
The introduction of sub-levels (e.g 4a, 4b, 4c), whilst enabling schools to demonstrate progress at shorter, more regular intervals, has further undermined the usefulness of Levels. Government research suggested that many students and parents or carers did not fully understand and could not clearly explain the difference between specific Levels or sub-levels in relation to different subjects.
Fixed v. growth mind-set
Where Levels were the main focus of conversations with students and parents or carers, learners understandably often focused more on the Level or sub-Level awarded, than on the specific guidance and feedback provided. Removing Levels therefore has the potential to accelerate learning and student progress by focusing feedback on those aspects of the curriculum where their knowledge and understanding is secure and those areas where there are gaps.
Linked to this, evidence also suggests that removing Levels and the label associated with them, emphases to learners that there is no ceiling on achievement and helps to promote a positive growth mind-set.