KS3 Assessment

KS3 Assessment Framework

Major changes have taken place to the assessment and reporting of pupils. National Curriculum levels have now been removed and numerical grades, from 9 to 1, are being phased in for GCSEs, replacing the letter grades A* to G.

At The Holmesdale School, we will be using both attainment and progress to report on the assessment and tracking of pupils in Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9). A brief description of what each grade represents is shown below.  It is important to recognise that it is not possible to accurately predict GCSE grades for pupils in Key Stage 3 with this new policy.  As such, these grades do not represent predicted GCSE grades, but instead provide an indication of how a pupil is progressing in each subject.

With regards to tracking progress, it is reasonable for a pupil to achieve the same grade throughout Years 7 to 9. Maintaining a grade from Year 7 to Year 9 is a reflection of progress itself, due to the increasing difficulty in content, skill and application, year on year.  Equally, it is reasonable for a pupil’s attainment to fluctuate at times.  A learning journey is rarely a linear and direct path as individuals develop core skills at different rates.  In all instances, staff will ensure that pupils are aware of how to improve and progress, continuing to liaise with parents and guardians accordingly


The Holmesdale School KS3 Assessment Vision

1. To allow pupils access to a broad and balanced curriculum that prepares them for the demands of the newer, more demanding examination system that they will face in the future. 

2. To enable pupils to identify and understand how to improve their work to improve their learning – the focus is on progress. 

3. To help pupils ‘strive for personal excellence’ by creating opportunities for formative assessment involving self and/or peer assessment, planning tasks, re-drafted work, incremental improvements and other means of formative assessment. 


The Assessment Schedule

Assessment of students is a continuous process and will take into account a range of data including teaching judgement in lessons, small-class based assessments and external Trust exams.

Each term students in KS3 will receive two formal pieces of feedback based upon marked work within each subject. 

The link(s) below details the assessment times and topics for the year:


Assessments Term 3 and 4

Grading at KS3

Attainment Descriptors

At KS3 we use four levels of attainment descriptor:

E: Emerging

D: Developing

S: Secure

M: Mastered

Students have been given a minimum attainment. This target is designed to be aspirational and the minimum attainment that students need to aspire to during KS3. The meaning of EDSM is different in different subject areas as detailed above. In a simplistic form students working at a Mastered are working at a higher level than those working at Developing. 

Progress Descriptors 

At KS3 we use three levels of progress descriptors:

More than Expected progress

Expected Progress

Less than Expected progress

To designate students as each level of these descriptors we are using a rank order system. Students are ranked upon entry based on their KS2 data or their CATs data. Once students take their assessments they will be rank ordered based upon their percentage score. Their rank within their year group will be compared to their initial rank. If students have moved up or down by 10% of their overall year group they will be designated as making more than and less than expected progress respectively.