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The John Bentley School

An Outstanding Centre For Learning

JBS Assessment Guidance

The JBS Assessment Guidance

In 2013 the Department for Education removed the system of assessment levels that was used in primary schools and in Years 7-9 at secondary schools.  At JBS, we have used this decision as a great opportunity to develop a new assessment system which monitors how students progress from the moment they start in Year 7, to Year 11 when they sit their GCSE exams.  By 2018, students’ attainment in most subjects at GCSE will be awarded as a number rather than a traditional letter. Therefore we will now assess students’ work using numbers.  This guide will explain the rationale behind this decision as well as answering some other questions about assessment and reporting at JBS.


Until Year 10, we don’t emphasise the importance of graded targets with students. Instead of worrying about such targets, we believe students should enjoy and develop a positive attitude to learning. However, it is important that parents/carers should be aware of how targets are calculated as they influence how we record your child’s progress in reports.  Student’s targets are reviewed at the start of Year 10 to take into account individual needs and their progress between Years 7-9.

When a student leaves primary school they achieve an attainment score. In 2016 this changed from a level e.g. ‘5C’, to a score between 80 and 120.  Using either levels (year groups 8-11) or a numbered score (Year 7), JBS have placed each student in a band and then using national tables, given a target for each subject. At JBS we have the highest expectation for every student. If their target is achieved, this would place them in the top 25% of students nationally for their band.


We will now use GCSE grades to report a student’s progress in Years 7-11. Throughout their entire time at the school, their progress can be tracked towards their final GCSE assessments.  Teachers will assess students on a grade between WT (working towards) and grade 9, the highest grade that can be achieved. Therefore, if a teacher awards a student a grade 5, they have assessed that they are currently producing work to the standard of a GCSE grade 5.  For some students, particularly in Year 7, they will not yet be working at a current GCSE grade standard so they will be awarded a grade at WT either at developing, securing or mastering. 

Each band has an expected progress flight path that gives an indication of the attainment we want our students to achieve at the end of each academic year. This is illustrated in the table below:

Although this table is useful in showing where students should be at the end of each academic year, progress is rarely as linear as this. Every student is different and will make more or less progress at different times during their journey at JBS. The school will intervene if a student strays too far from the expected progress to ensure that there is support if they need it.

Reporting Progress

Every time a report is sent home we shall give an indication to the students and parents/carers on where they are in relation to their expected progress. For the majority of subjects the table below explains how progress is calculated. Progress is measured against pupils nationally who had the same starting point at the end of Year 6.

The only exception is if a student is predicted to a grade 7 or more, when we will describe progress as outstanding even if they have a higher target. To achieve a grade 7, 8 or 9 is a great achievement.

Subjects that have a strong focus on practical skills, or are not focussed on at primary schools, follow a different expected progress model. Progress is likely to be slower during years 7-9. Students are therefore more likely to be developing in that subject.

 As a school we have spent a lot of time considering the language used. It should be supportive, but at the same time alert you and your child when we are concerned that they are not making the progress we would expect. This could result in them not being on track to reach their potential. It is also important to remember that the progress measure does not indicate whether they are working hard or not.  If a student’s progress is identified as moderate or developing, it is not necessarily saying they are not working hard enough. It is identifying that something isn’t quite right and that we need to work out what it is and make a change.

Fine Grades

Predicting a grade for a students work is not an easy art. Therefore, we use fine grades to show the teacher’s confidence in the grade awarded.  The fine grade will be a letter (unless in Years 10-11 where the subject is still awarding letters when a number is used). A description for each letter can be seen below:


If you have any feedback on the new assessment please email Will Ruscoe (Assistant Headteacher for Raising Standards) at  The first year of embedding this system will require some fine tuning and feedback from parents/carers and students will be crucial to this.