Assessment and Progress

Assessment can be seen as the bridge between teaching and learning. Dylan Wiliam describes this well: “It is only through assessment that we can find out whether what has happened in the classroom has produced the learning we intended”.

Formative and summative assessment

Put simply, formative assessment informs a teacher’s planning. For example, when we pose questions to a class, the responses may inform us whether to circle back and re-teach a concept or to move on to the next concept. Summative assessment gives us a snapshot in time. For example, Topsy’s essay is Grade 6 or Tim’s project is Grade B. In reality, summative assessments are also used formatively. For example, when students sit past papers or mock exams (‘summative assessments’) teachers will be analysing responses to inform which topics, if any, need additional teaching (‘formative’ judgements). Because of this, we favour the terms formal assessment and informal assessment here at Brine Leas.

Informal Assessment

Informal assessment takes place very regularly, often without students being aware. Assessment data is gathered through questioning, through looking at students’ work, low-stakes quizzes (for example, quizzes from Knowledge Organisers) and through circulating and observing, whilst students are working.

We advocate ‘responsive teaching’ here at Brine Leas, which sees teachers respond with as much immediacy as possible, to the needs of the students.

Formal Assessments

These may be:

  • end of topic tests
  • past papers
  • mock exams / progression exams
  • project-style assessments
  • formal assessment of practical skills

Making objective judgements

To support objective judgements in assessments, control measures are put in place where appropriate and where practicable. For example, key pieces of work for examination year groups are marked anonymously and / or teachers don’t mark the work of their own students. In addition, all teachers have received training on tackling unconscious bias and moderation (both within subject teams here at BLS and with subject teams at local schools) also takes place.

Progress Reports

Three times per year, progress reports are published on My Child At School. You will be alerted via email, whenever a report is published. These reports provide:

Y7, Y8 and term 1 of Y9Progress Indicator and Next Steps
Terms 2 & 3 of Y9, Y10, Y11, Y12, Y13 Target Grade, Predicted Grade and Next Steps

Progress will also be discussed at Parents’ Evenings, which take place once per year. Reporting procedures change at Christmas of Year 9 to support students in making informed options choices during the spring term of Year 9.

Assessment Records

For Progress Reports to have meaning and power, it is important that students and parents know which evidence has informed Progress Judgements. To facilitate this, we publish Assessment Records for each subject in each year group. These are live links and can be found on this document: Assessment Records 21-22 These key pieces of work are the focus for moderation within subject teams, to support objectivity in judgements.

Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) – for pupils who started Year 7 in 2020 and 2021 only.

Students in these year groups did not sit their Key Stage 2 SATs in Year 6. In order to supplement teacher assessments and transition information provided to us from primary schools, we administer CATs. These take place in lesson time in the autumn term. CATs are a series of short tests which assess a student’s reasoning (thinking) abilities in key areas that support educational development and academic attainment. No preparation is necessary for these tests and your child need not feel anxious; there is no pre-learning or knowledge needed to complete the tests. CAT data can help teachers to plan appropriately and can inform targets.


Target grades are used as part of our reporting process from Term 2 of Year 9 onwards. Target grades are derived from a combination of: data from a student’s prior attainment; data from the Department for Education; data from national trends in different subjects; and teacher adjustments.