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 Guidance for Parents on ‘Assessment Points’

Throughout the school year there are a number of ‘Assessment Points’. Each Assessment Point is an opportunity for students’ current Attitude to Learning, attainment and progress to be assessed. For short-hand purposes these are often referred to as AP1, AP2, etc. Information collected by the school at each Assessment Point will be shared with parents and students through the publication of ‘Assessment Reports’.

Terms we use in our Assessment Reports

A2L = Attitude to Learning – This is a score between +2 and -2 (see Table 1 below). These are awarded at every Assessment Point throughout the year. You will also find an average of all of a student’s A2L Scores for each Assessment Point.

A2L Code – Where appropriate a teacher may indicate a code to highlight a positive element of a students’ performance or a negative element of a students’ performance (see Table 2 below)

CWG = Current Working Grade – this is assessed by the teacher and should reflect a student’s current level of attainment based on work completed in the most recent half-term(s)

Target – This is the grade/level the student should be aiming to achieve. These are calculated based on Prior Attainment and are not a prediction of the grade/level the student will ultimately achieve.

  • For years 7-11 the targets are based on KS2 results
  • For years 12-13 the targets are based on GCSE results.
  • In Key Stage 3 (years 7-9) the targets are what the student should aim to achieve by the end of the current academic year.
  • In Key Stage 4 (years 10-11) and Key Stage 5 (years 12-13), the targets are what the student should aim to achieve by the end of the course (GCSE or A-Level).        

TABLE 1 - Attitude to Learning Scores

(A2L) +2

The student’s behaviour is excellent. Classwork is completed to a standard exceeding expectations.

They regularly participate in lessons. Homework is always handed in on time and is of a high standard.


Student’s behaviour is very good. Classwork is finished to a level and quantity above what is expected and they occasionally participate in lessons. Homework is completed on time and shows time and attention given to it.


Student is focused most of the time. They are rarely spoken to about behaviour. Classwork is finished to the standard expected. They sometimes participate during lessons and nearly all homework is completed on time.


The student often needs to be re-focused during lessons and they often break the rules of the classroom. Their classwork is, at times, finished to a level below what is expected. Homework is not always handed in on time.


The student’s behaviour has a large negative effect on others. They regularly have to be spoken to and they have issues working with staff or their peers. Work is finished to a level far below the individual’s capability.

TABLE 2 - A2L Codes

L Positive effect on the learning of others A Absence is affecting their learning
M Excellent homework C Behind schedule with coursework
P Excellent participation in lessons D Student is disrupting learning of others
W Outstanding standard of work F Student lacks focus in lessons
    H Homework is late or below standard
    O Organisation is affecting their learning
    S Student is struggling with work


Assessment at Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9) there are no nationally agreed levels which can be used to compare attainment between different schools. Instead, each school has their own systems for assessing student attainment and progress at Key Stage 3.

At St Mary's, each department uses their own levelling system to suit the needs of their subject. Although all departments use a numbered level system from 0-9, comparisons between subjects can be difficult. To help parents we recommend that the focus should always be on the progress towards the given end of year target.  

If our young people can meet, or beat, these targets they will be making good academic progress.

Levels or Grades? What’s the difference?

Until 2016 all GCSE grades were given in the form of letters, ranging from A* to G. Since these had been in use since 1986 they were well understood by schools, students, parents and employers. Similarly, National Curriculum levels (used from years 1 (KS1) to year 9 (KS3) had been in use for a similar amount of time and used numbers and letters together (e.g. 3a, 5c, 7b). These two different scoring systems were well understood and not easily confused.
However, since the reform of GCSEs in 2015, and the removal of National curriculum levels, both phases of education know use a number-based scoring system, running from 0 (low) to 9 (high). This can lead to confusion. The following points should hopefully avoid confusion.

  •  Students in Years 7 to 9 (KS3) are given a decimal number such as 3.5, 4.2 or 6.0. These are referred to as ‘levels’ or ‘Key Stage 3 Levels’.
  • Students in Years 10 to 11 (KS4) are given a whole number, such as 3, 5, 9. These are referred to as ‘grades’ or ‘GCSE Grades’
  • These two scoring systems are NOT connected in any way and do not overlap. For example – a student who finishes Year 9 at level 5.0 in Maths will NOT start Year 10 at a grade 5 in Maths.

Assessment at Key Stage 4 and 5

At Key Stage 4 (Year 10 and 11) and Key Stage 5 (Year 12 and 13) parents and students should pay particular attention not only to the current grades the students has been awarded, but how that grade relates to the students own target grade. A current grade on its own, without context, is not a good measure of progress. For example, compare the two students below:

You might ‘on the face of it’ assume that student B has made more progress because overall their current grades are slightly higher than student A (676 vs 656). However, that does not tell the full story. If we look again, and this time do a quick sum to tell us the difference between the target and the current grade we see a different picture emerge.

We now see that student A is making more progress as they are three grades higher than their target expects them to be. By contrast, student B is two grades below where their targets suggest they should be.

Finally, please note that we do not routinely publish predicted grades for students sitting exams. There are two exceptions to this practice:

  1. We will provide predicted grades for Year 11 in Autumn Term 2 to coincide with applications to the 6th Form.
  2. We will provide predicted grades for Year 13 students applying to university through UCAS.

Predicted grades will be based on teacher’s professional judgement and experience. Teachers will use a broad range of evidence to determine predicted grades, including, but not limited to, class work, mock exams, formal assessments, course-work and homework.


Please keep an eye on our Calendar for the latest information about when student reports can be expected.