Reports – Understanding Assessment

Old Hat

You may be aware that until recently all schools in England followed a National Curriculum where children were assessed and levels reported to parents in the form of SATs in Years 2, 6 and 9. Teachers carefully tracked children’s progress through levels and it was measured this way, on a termly basis, throughout their school life. Children were given levels such as 2c, 2b, 2a but the numerals did not relate to their year group.


In September 2014, alongside a brand new National Curriculum, the Government removed levels in schools, except for Years 2 and 6.  Children in Years 2 and 6 take their statutory assessments (SATS) as in previous years and will keep the current levels for one more year.

Schools are currently changing and developing their assessment practices. This is a huge change for all schools. In response to these government reforms, all schools in DASP (Dorchester Area Schools Partnership) are working towards a common approach to assessment.

The new National Curriculum is a mastery curriculum. This means, children must MASTER the objectives taught, rather than just be taught them. There has definitely been a shift in content of the new National Curriculum as well – many objectives for English and Maths from the previous National Curriculum have ‘moved down’ to the year group below. There is no doubt about it; children need to master a more difficult curriculum.

E.g. The Year 3 maths curriculum now includes: counting in 10ths; comparing, ordering, adding and subtracting fractions with common denominators; telling the time to the nearest minute on a 24 hour clock; Roman numerals and formal written methods for addition and subtraction.

New Hat

We are now assessing children against the new National Curriculum objectives and using a new ‘language’ to report to you on how well your child is achieving the new National Curriculum objectives. Instead of levels we talk about ARE (Age Related Expectations) and will be comparing children to the new expectations for each year group.

Language Code What this means
Emerging E Your child is working towards the objectives for this year group for this subject.
Developing D Your child has achieved about two thirds of the objectives for this year group for this subject.
Secure S Your child has achieved more than two thirds of the objectives for this year group for this subject.

Children could well be working within the previous year’s National Curriculum. E.g. a Year 3 child could still be working on the Year 2 curriculum objectives. For this academic year, this will be a common picture as expectations have been raised and we have a bit of back filling to do. We will report children’s attainment in terms of year group and code e.g. Y2D or Y1S.

Once the new system of assessment is embedded, schools will expect children to make 3 points progress in a year.
E.g. a child would move from Y2S to Y3S in one year, progressing each term from Y2S→Y3E→Y3D→Y3S.

Moving from one system to another

As your child moves from one system to another, it may well look as if your child has moved backwards. Don’t panic! This is because your child is following a new and more challenging curriculum. Your child will need to complete all the curriculum objectives for the previous year group as well as working on the curriculum objectives for their current year group. The higher up the school they are the harder this can be as there are more gaps to fill.

So your child may ‘appear’ to be working at lower levels this year but they will still be making good progress as this is just a ‘realignment’ of the new national curriculum.

We have tried to explain as simply as possible what is quite a messy process for schools at the moment. Above all please be assured we are carefully monitoring the progress of every child in our school and teachers’ planning continues to meet their needs and challenge them appropriately. If we have any worries about how your child is getting on we will always share those concerns with you and likewise hope you will too. If you have any questions please do talk to your child’s teacher.

For further information about how assessment is used throughout the year to ensure that your child achieves their full potential please visit our School Policies page and see our Assessment Policy.