Key Stage 4 assessment

Assessment changes at KS4

KS4 is the stage in each child’s education covering Years 10 and 11 in secondary school.

GCSE courses (General Certificate of Secondary Education) were reformed from 2016. Part of thie reforming, was to introduce a new 1 – 9 grading system. In this new system, a 9 is the highest award and 1 the lowest. Changes were also made to the curriculum content and style of examination of GCSE's in a bid to make them more challenging. Key changes include fewer ‘bite-sized’ questions and more essay-style questions. The content will be more challenging, with more substantial texts in English literature and a number of new topics in maths. Controlled assessment will disappear or play a much smaller role from most subjects, apart from practical ones such as art, dance and drama. There are no direct equivalences between the old letters and the new numbered awards, but what we do know is captured in the ‘key notes’ beneath.

Key Notes

Grade 4 is considered as a 'Standard Pass' and is considered the level that students must achieve without needing to re-sit either English or Maths Post-16.

Grade 5 is considered as a  'Strong Pass', and is aligned with the top C grade and lower third of the old B grade.

Broadly speaking, the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 4 and above as currently achieve a grade C and above.

Broadly speaking, the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 7 and above as achieve an A and above.

The bottom of grade 1 will be aligned with the bottom of grade G.

KS4 – Target Setting

Our target setting process in Years 10 and 11 is to share with students the probability of achieveing each grade in each subject, using data provided by a charity called Fischer Family Trust (FFT).

Quoting from the FFT website:

“FFT is a non-profit company established in 2001 with links to the Fischer Family Trust. We are solely focussed on providing accurate and insightful information to schools which enables pupils to achieve their full potential and schools to improve. We have been processing the National Pupil Database for the DFE since 2004 and providing analyses to all schools and LAs in England and Wales for 15 years.”

The information supplied by FFT is set at various benchmark levels – we have chosen a benchmark level of “FFT50”, this represents nationally “average” progress (50th percentile) made by similar students last year (similar in terms of their prior attainment, gender and month of birth). From the information provided by FFT, we choose the statistically most likely grade for each student in each subject as a minimum expectation. We make clear to students that higher and lower grades are also a posibility, often related to the effort that they choose to commit to their studies.