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KS4 Assessment

The academy’s Key Stage 4 curriculum has been developed following extensive consultation and development work with curriculum experts from examination boards and subject leaders from a range of schools across the country. It is designed to provide a range of academic and vocational courses from the age of 14 onwards.

These courses are carefully chosen to support pupils’ progression into VI Form, post-16 education and employment and to provide each pupil with a suitable programme of learning and challenge designed to meet their individual needs including those with special educational needs and the more able.

These pages contain information about the topics that pupils study in each subject areas, how their progress and attainment will be assessed and how their progress and attainment will be reported.

The subject overviews are broken down into half termly overviews in order that parents and pupils can easily see what topics are being covered at any given time.

Each academic year is split into 3 FORMAL assessment points.

Formal Assessment Points at Key Stage 4 are highly likely to be based on a full GCSE ‘past-paper’ examination for each GCSE subject. Vocational subjects have a range of formal, externally assessed units and these may also be examined in-line with the formal assessment points throughout the year.

When parents receive their child’s report (3 times per year), they will see that they have been assessed as being on a ‘KPIP’ for each subject. This stands for ‘Key Performance Indicator for Progress’. This is derived from the ‘age related grade’ achieved in their assessment for that subject using the GCSE (or equivalent) mark-scheme as a guide. At least 2 of these assessments will be sat by thousands of other pupils across more than 50 United Learning schools, providing valuable comparative data about each child’s performance against a representative data set. The grade reported to parents will also take into account their child’s performance in the topics studied previously that academic year within that subject.

Formal Assessment Points

  • train pupils to apply their knowledge
  • provide opportunities to ‘move up’ (never down)
  • enable teachers to carry out Question Level Analysis of pupils’ performance in different aspects of their learning, analyse the impact of their planning and teaching (adapting accordingly), and to intervene where misconceptions or underperformance are evident
  • measure progress
  • enable informed conversations about learning and progress with senior leaders, heads of department, pupils, parents and subject advisors
  • provide parents and pupils with performance information, each KPIP being awarded is also colour coded so that pupils know if they are exceeding their target (blue), meeting their target (green), one grade below target (amber) or >1 grades below target (red)

Formal Assessment Points at Key Stage 4 are also marked, moderated, graded and benchmarked against other pupils’ performance in schools across the group. This provides additional insight into each pupils’ performance when compared to a large sample of pupils nationally and helps to inform their learning and any additional interventions needed moving forward.


Each Assessment Point (roughly 13 weeks in duration) is numbered from 10 (Oct of Y10) to 15 (July of Y11), which covers pupils’ entire journey through Key Stage 4.

Each pupil is assigned a target according to their KS2 APS on entry. Special consideration is given to the placing / setting of pupils with English as an additional language, pupils who did not sit Key Stage 2 tests in primary school, pupils who have made accelerated progress and who are working above expectations as a result and to a range of other circumstances that might mean that pupils can access more challenging learning.

The KPIPs for Key Stage 4 are similar to those in Key Stage 3 but ‘open out’ to encompass the GCSE Grades 1 and 2 at the lower end of the scale and 8 and 9* at the top end of the scale.

All KS4 KPIPs are linked to the GCSE Grade (or its vocational equivalent) for that number e.g. KPIP 5 in Year 10 & Year 11 = working at GCSE Grade 5, KPIP 7 in Year 10 & Year 11 is working at GCSE Grade 7.

Key Stage 2 APS on Entry Starting Point  Aspirational Target Grade for GCSE / KPIP (Blue Assessment) Target Grade for GCSE / KPIP (Green Assessment) GCSE Grades / KPIPs that would give ‘Amber Assessment’ – below target grade  GCSE Grades / KPIPs that would give ‘Red Assessment’ – well below target grade 
 No pupil is set a target of < GCSE Grade / KPIP 3 regardless of their KS2 APS  KPIP 1  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A
 KPIP 2  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A
 Levels 2c, 2b, 2a, 3c, 3b, 3a, 4c KPIP 3 KPIP 4 and above  KPIP 3  KPIP 2   KPIP 1
Level 4b KPIP 4  KPIP 5 and above  KPIP 4  KPIP 3  KPIP 2 
Level 4a  KPIP 5  KPIP 6 and above  KPIP 5  KPIP 4  KPIP 3 
Level 5c  KPIP 6  KPIP 7 and above  KPIP 6  KPIP 5 KPIP 4 
Level 5b / 5a  KPIP 7  KPIP 8 and above  KPIP 7  KPIP 6  KPIP 5 
Level 5b/5a aspirational target or aspirational target once KPIP 7 achieved  KPIP 8  KPIP 9*  KPIP 8  KPIP 7  KPIP 6 
Level 5b/5a aspirational target or aspirational target once KPIP 8 achieved   KPIP 9*  KPIP / GCSE Grade 9 is not defined – this grade is awarded to the top 2% of pupils nationally.  Pupils who perform in line with that standard for 2 assessment points in a row may be awarded a KPIP 9     


In class, each pupil is set work commensurate with their GCSE target and aspirational target grades. This carries the expectation that they are stretched to access more complex work at higher levels.

Pupils are initially set according to their Key Stage 2 starting points to enable teachers to differentiate the work being set and to better ensure that all pupils can be supported to make the maximum amount of progress. Pupils who have made accelerated progress in Key Stage 3 and who have already been ‘moved up’ sets will remain in the higher sets and their GCSE targets adjusted upwards.

Pupils who make more than the expected level of progress over two formal assessment points within Key Stage 4 may be moved ‘up’ a set in order to ensure that they are continually stretched and challenged to achieve their fullest academic potential. Pupils who do not meet progress expectations will never be ‘moved down’ and will instead receive bespoke interventions to support their learning, such as small group tutorials, additional homework, enrichment sessions with Head of Department, or bespoke in-class support.

Reporting progress and attainment:

Pupils’ achievement levels and target grades are identified using a number that comes in 2 parts. This tells you both the level that the pupil is achieving at (or aiming for) and the point that they are at on their journey through school.

  • The KPIP they have achieved (or is their target) is the FIRST PART.
  • The point in the pupil’s learning journey is the SECOND PART

For example, the achievement of a pupil who has achieved KPIP 7 at assessment point 1 of Year 10 would be reported as 7.10. This is because the first assessment point of Year 10 is the TENTH assessment point in their journey through secondary school.

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