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The Bay CE School

Assessment, Reporting and Target Setting



The aim of this guidance is to help understand assessment and reporting at The Bay CE School and how we set targets and measure progress against them.  A student’s target is the grade that a student would do well to achieve by the end of Year 11.  We believe targets are crucial to support students’ understanding of where they are in their learning journeys; these targets are personal to each student and subject.


Following the end of National Curriculum levels, The Bay CE School primarily uses the 1-9 grading system for students. The new system aims to further enhance the quality of teaching, learning and assessment so that our pupils make outstanding progress and have a strong foundation for achieving success at GCSE.  The system aims to:

  • be aspirational and challenging while giving pupils a sense of achievement
  • provide a precise and robust measure of pupil progress and attainment
  • make it clear to pupils, the knowledge, understanding and skills that they have learnt and the next steps they need to make in their learning
  • give reliable information to parents, carers and other interested stakeholders about attainment and progress

Year 7 CAT4 Testing – Cognitive Ability Tests

At the beginning of Year 7 students sit Cognitive Ability Tests, these have long been used to complement all other data.  The CAT4 tests measure the cognitive ability of each student over four batteries:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Spatial Ability

Example questions below:

It is important to note that CAT4 is a measure of academic potential, not learned knowledge!

For the Year 7 students who joined in September 2020 and 2021, in the absence of KS2 data (SATS), the FFT benchmarking is based on CAT4 outcomes and using the same process as in other years. For the Year 7 students in this year’s cohort, and beyond, FFT Benchmarking will return to using KS2 data.

For information on what the CAT4 testing entails, or what Standard Aged Scores (SAS) tell us, then please look at the links below for video tutorials or descriptions.


Click here  


Target setting (Benchmarking) using the Fischer Family Trust (FFT)

Target setting is a significant strategy in our school for improving the achievement of our students. The student is at the heart of the process and regular feedback against these targets is given. The targets that we set are challenging, but realistic, and take into account each student’s starting point for learning.

To support target (benchmark) setting for students in years 7 to 11, we employ the services of the Fischer Family Trust (FFT).

FFT is a non-profit organisation who analyse school performance data and support schools and authorities in tracking progress and setting meaningful benchmarks to enable students to achieve their full potential – used by over 13,600 schools nationally.

FFT uses students’ prior attainment KS2 data (SATs) to set probable benchmarks (not predictions) for every student in each subject for the end of Phase 3/KS4.  Where KS2 data is not available CATs data is used.

Below is an example of benchmark data we receive for Student A in Science.  Student A is compared to similar students in previous cohorts nationally.  The comparison will be made on prior attainment as well as other attributes, such as month of birth.  The outcomes of the similar students are assessed and a distribution of KS4 outcomes is created to set a Benchmark grade for student A.

*In this example the Benchmark set is a grade 6. 25% of students similar to Student A went on to achieve a grade 6 in this subject.  Again, benchmark setting is prediction and probability, not prophecy, 2% went on to achieve a grade 2 and 6% a grade 9.

Statistically, the risk of achieving less than a grade 6 is 42%, the chance of exceeding a grade 6 is 33%.       

FFT50 is commonly used as a comparison of school performance.  This process uses data only from schools performing in the top 50% nationally.

At The Bay CE School we use FFT20 (Target Grade) – this uses data only from schools who perform in the top 20% nationally.  We believe this gives us the right balance between realistic and challenging benchmarks.  In Year 10 and 11 we also use FFT5 (Bay Factor) – this uses data only from schools who perform in the top 5% nationally and this is an aspirational grade for our students.  

Where outcomes can be broadly predicted using a student’s previous attainment, other contributing factors to a student’s outcomes include: the quality of teaching; the support at home; the determination of the student, among other factors.

Phase 2 - Years 7, 8 and 9 students

Although there is no longer KS3 national testing, Phase 2 (Years 7 to 9) is a crucial phase of education.  During Phase 2, key skills are developed across a broad curriculum prior to progressing to a more tailored curriculum through Phase 3.  As such there is no direct transfer of grading from Phase 2 progress to Phase 3 outcomes.  We do however use the 1-9 grading system from Year 7 through to Year 11 with the exception of Religious Education which uses age-related expectations.  At each reporting point, teachers provide an indicative grade to report if the student is on track to achieve their Year 11 target. 

Religious education age-related expectations explained

Age-related expectations are based on what children should have learned, or be able to do, at the end of each year.  It works on the premise that the average child of that age and stage should meet the given standard.

  • Mastering - Students are able to apply key skills across a range of areas without explicit teaching / your child is consistently working above ARE
  • Securing - They are consistently working at this level / Your child is meeting ARE
  • Developing - Students begin to apply their understanding – this is usually with the support of a teacher or adult / your child is progressing towards ARE
  • Emerging - Students have been taught the skill but rarely are able to apply their understanding / your child is starting to make progress towards ARE with significant support and guidance

At each assessment point, teachers provide an indicative grade to outline where the student is currently performing along their journey.  We have taken the decision to use fine grading (+ and -) as this provides a good indication of how close they are to the threshold for the grade above or below. 

5+ = The top of a Grade 5, almost at the threshold of a Grade 6

5 = The middle of a Grade 5

5- = The bottom of a Grade 5, close to the threshold of a Grade


Progress Maps (Attainment and Progress)

To inform the indicative grade, teachers will use subject specific progress maps which describe the standard of each grade for assessment objectives.  An assessment objective is a key strand of learning that is taught and assessed in a subject.  Progress maps are used in everyday lessons, especially during assessments, to make it clear to students the grade they are performing at and the next steps they need to take in their learning and whether they are on track to achieve their Year 11 target.  However, it is important to emphasise that a student’s rate of progress often varies over time and may differ between subjects.  Therefore, while the grades a student achieves during Phase 2 may be an indicator of possible achievement at GCSE they are not the school’s prediction of a student’s GCSE outcomes.

Student’s progress towards their Year 11 target is reported as follows:

  • Exceeding expected progress
  • Meeting expected progress
  • Working towards expected progress
  • Not meeting expected progress

Phase 3 - Years 10 and 11 students

GCSEs in England have a 1 to 9 grading scale, to better differentiate between the highest performing students and distinguish clearly between the old and new qualifications.  Grade 9 is the highest grade and will be awarded to fewer students than the old A*.  The GCSE grading scale is not directly equivalent to the old A* to G one.  However, there are some comparable points between the old grades and the new ones, as the diagram below shows.  The bottom of grade 7 is aligned with the bottom of grade A, the bottom of grade 4 is aligned with the bottom of grade C and the bottom of grade 1 is aligned with the bottom of grade G.  


Phase 3 students are presented with their FFT benchmark grades in Year 10 as a target to measure their progress throughout the course.  This is the grade they will be aiming to achieve at the end of Year 11 in their GCSE results.  To refine the predicted grade more, a plus or minus sign has been added to indicate where the student is in relation to the grade above or below.  Please see the explanations below.  There will be opportunities for teachers to raise the target if more challenge is required.  Remember, these target grades carry a percentage of risk and chance. Targets should never be seen as an upper limit, nor the guarantee of any particular outcome and the journey of progress is not always linear. 



The top of a Grade 6, almost at the threshold of a Grade 7


The middle of a Grade 6


The bottom of a Grade 6, close to the threshold of a Grade 5

Vocational Grades

The BTEC Tech Award and NCFE qualifications will be graded and certificated on a scale from Level 1 Pass to Level 2 Distinction*.  They are equivalent to the grades awarded for GCSE courses (please see the table below). 

How is the grade calculated?

Step 1: Students achieve a grade for each component, which is then allocated a number of points.

Step 2: At the end of the course, the points from each component are added up to give a total number of points.

Step 3: The total number of points is matched against the grade thresholds for the qualification.

Individual components will be graded on a six-point scale from Level 1 Pass to Level 2 Distinction.  Learners who do not meet the minimum requirements for a qualification grade to be awarded will be recorded as Unclassified (U) and will not be certificated.  In order to be awarded a qualification, a learner must complete and achieve an outcome for all three components and achieve the minimum number of uniform marks at a qualification grade threshold.

FFT does not provide targets for BTEC and other vocational qualifications.  For these, the targets are set using the student’s average GCSE target and converted to an equivalent grade.  This chart shows the equivalence between GCSE grades and Vocational grades.

Attitude To Learning (ATL)

We use Attitude to Learning (AtL) to assess your child’s level of engagement in each subject.  Our expectation is that all students should, as a minimum, be targeting a 2 as this indicates that they are following a positive pathway, which will allow them to make good progress.

1. Is consistently fully engaged and works effectively in a wide variety of situations demonstrating independence and initiative

2. Is engaged and works effectively with guidance in a wide variety of situations

3. Is usually engaged and regularly works effectively with guidance in a variety of situations

4. Is engaged when in class but attendance issues are limiting progress

5. Is sometimes engaged but needs scaffolding and  direction in order to work effectively which can lead to disruption in/to learning

6. Is sometimes engaged, needs considerable support and guidance in order to stay on task and can be disruptive to learning. 

7. Does not engage and, even with considerable teacher input and support, will not cooperate and can be disruptive to learning

Progress Reports 

At each reporting point, teachers provide a grade to outline where the student is currently performing along their journey.  To inform this grade, teachers will use a number of indicators such as: assessment grades; homework; classwork or contributions and observations in the classroom.  For Years 10 and 11, there will be a greater focus on outcomes from key formal assessments, such as mock exams.

Progress reports are published through the year where teachers will share the progress and engagement of the students in their class.  These will be shared with parents online and can be accessed using Go4Schools, our system for tracking and reporting.  The reports cannot currently be accessed via the GO 4 Schools mobile app as the app does not support this feature. 

Click here to read guidance for parents and carers 'Understanding Assessment and your Child's School Report.'

Subject teachers can be contacted for discussions about attainment and progress.  Year managers and tutors can be contacted for a broader overview of attainment and progress.

Year 7 – Ms A Jones on 01983 409182 or via email ajones@bayceschool.org

Year 8 – Mrs L Summers on or via email lsummers@bayceschool.org 

Year 9 – Mrs T Welsh on 01983 409134 or via email twelsh@bayceschool.org

Year 10 – Mrs S Jones on 01983 409151or via email sjones@bayceschool.org 

Year 11 – Mr J Alabaster on 01983 409186 or via email jalabaster@bayceschool.org


Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like any more information on anything related to assessment, reporting and target setting.