Key Stage Three
At the end of Year 9 pupils take the End of Key Stage 3 NCTs which are to assess the work done in Years 7 to 9. These are in English, Mathematics and Science and the tests are the same as those sat in the UK, but are marked here as there is no external marking service. In other subjects at Year 9 and during Years 7 and 8 pupils are assessed in class during the academic year and in a more formal exam week in early June. The NCTs and teacher assessed levels are recorded for the use of teachers in judging progress and appear on the termly assessment sheets and final reports. In subjects other than English, Maths and Science at Year 9, the teacher assesses the level that pupils are at on the same scale, but no externally produced tests are available for other subjects.
National Curriculum Levels
Instead of a letter grade the children in Year 2 to Year 9 are assessed using National Curriculum levels which run from 1c to 7a (except Maths which has a level 8). Each level is broken down into a sublevel a, b, c. The expected level of an average student for each key stage is:
- KS1 – Level 2
- KS2 – Level 4
- KS3 – Level 5/6 (depends on the subject)
A word of warning about levels.
Students are expected to progress through the levels, but this progression is not a straight line upward curve. It is actually more of an undulating climb. Levels also differ during the year within a subject due to the subject matter being covered at that time. Levels also differ from subject to subject at KS3 due to a lower starting point (4 - French) or a higher top score (8 – Maths)
The IGCSE is the international version of the English and Welsh GCSE. The GCSEs replaced the O Level in 1988. At TBS we use Cambridge International Examinations and Edexcel exam boards. The exams for these are sat at the end of Year 11 after 2 years of study and the students normally sit for 9 IGCSE subjects. They are graded A* to G (however A* to C is what is generally accepted as a ‘pass’) and allow students of all abilities to achieve. The assessment is either exam only or exam and coursework and the marking is done by the exam board. During the two-year course a grade is given each term that reflects what the students are likely to achieve if they continue to progress at the current rate.
AS and A Levels
The AS and A Levels we use at TBS are produced by Cambridge International Examinations or Edexcel exam boards and the students usually sit 3 or 4 subjects. The AS Level exams are sat after one year of study at the end of Year 12. The final A Level is a combination of the AS Level scores and the A2 exams at the end of Year 13. A Levels are graded A to E and for those students with good A grades for all their AS and A2 papers a new A* grade was made available from June 2010. During the course a grade is given each term that reflects what the students are likely to achieve if they continue to progress at the current rate. At TBS we also offer a vocational diploma in Business from Cambridge International Examinations, the completed advanced diploma is the equivalent of an A Level at different grades dependent on whether the student achieved a Distinction, Merit or Pass.
In August of Years 4 to 12 all the children sit a Cognitive Abilities Test. This is an assessment of their skills in three areas – verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. The test is used by teachers and mentors to set targets for the children and to assess areas of strengths and weaknesses that can be addressed over the year.
Students at TBS receive written reports during and at the end of the academic year.
In Secondary School the students receive two types of report. At the end of terms one, two and three the students in Years 7 to 10, the students receive a Termly Assessment Sheet (TAS) which has an attainment grade or NC level, an effort grade and a progress grade for each subject and a comment from the student’s mentor and the Head of Secondary. In term four, the students in Years 7 to 10 receive a full written report from all subject teachers which also includes grades like in the TAS.
In Years 11 to 13, the students receive a TAS in terms one and two and a full written report in term 3 before they go on study leave to prepare for their examinations (study leave starts early in term four).