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The Wren School’s Approach to Assessing without Levels

From September 2016, The Wren School assessment systems have to change because National Curriculum levels no longer exist. We welcome these changes to assessment as we now have greater opportunities to develop a more effective and individualised Key Stage 3 curriculum which uses Wren Skills to enhance our thematic approach.

There remains a strong, whole school emphasis to be able to accurately and robustly track student progress starting with the first module in our Year 7 curriculum called Tools of the Trade, which we use to understand your child’s ability on entry to the school. Throughout Key Stage 3 we monitor your child’s progress from this baseline so everyone is able to make a smooth and knowledgeable transition into their GCSEs.

Phases of Learning

In order for your child to excel in every subject at all times they are set an Aim High target which will be one of four phases of learning: See Figure 1.

phases of learning


Solo Taxonomy

To enable Elliot to take ownership of his own learning and achievement we will teach him how to measure his own progress using Solo taxonomy. This is a model that describes levels of increasing complexity in a student’s understanding of subjects. See Figure 2.

Level of understanding What it means for Elliot

Level of understandingWhat it means for Elliot
Extended abstractElliot can extend on the knowledge he has learnt to create his own new knowledge.
RelationalElliot’s response focuses on several relevant aspects that he can connect together.
Multi-structuralElliot’s response focuses on several relevant aspects but he does not yet connect aspects together.
Uni-structuralElliot’s response focuses on one relevant aspect.


How will each student’s attainment and progress be monitored?

Target Setting LwL


To enable teachers to set ambitious, Aim High targets for each student we consider their starting point, capacity to learn within a subject and the teacher’s professional judgement.

Your child’s Key Stage 2 results from Primary School will be used as their starting point. Your child’s capacity to learn within each subject is measured by their CATS score. The CATS test is a nationally recognised assessment which measures your child’s strengths and weaknesses across individual curriculum areas. Click here for more information. Your child’s teacher will use these two pieces of information in addition to their own practise-based assessment to set three termly targets for every student.

Whatever your child’s starting point, they are all expected to make the same level of progress throughout their time at The Wren School.


Should your child begin falling behind in a subject to an extent that they are likely to miss their Aim High target, the teacher will intervene with support. This support could be help with their extended learning, one-to-one teaching at break or lunch or a conversation with yourselves. We will do whatever we can to help your child reach their targets.

Wren Skills

In addition to academic targets your child will be set at least one Wren Skill Aim High target each term.
This is used to measure your child’s ability to link together the various subjects within a larger theme. See Figure 4. This will follow the same Aim High target model.

Form tutors will set your child the individualised Wren Skill Aim High target at the start of a term based on their Key Stage 2 results and CATS data. This is reviewed at the end of the term based on teacher’s feedback.


Figure 4

Reports Home

In each school year you will receive two data reports to provide a snapshot of your child’s attainment and effort. In addition to their effort, engagement in lessons, preparation for learning and application of The Wren Skills we will also inform you which phase of learning your child has reached in each module for every subject along with their target.

How does this prepare my child for GCSE?

In terms 5 and 6 of Year 8 your child will start to prepare for his/her GCSE courses in English, Mathematics and Science in Year 9. Similar to using the Key Stage 2 results as a starting point for Key Stage 3 it is important that students know how their average key stage 3 attainment aligns with GCSE criteria at the start of Year 9.
Returning to Elliot, If he ends Key Stage 3 with an average attainment of ‘Developing’ he will start his GCSE with a target grade of 3 or 4.

Flight Path1

Term Dates

Term 3
Mon 7 January – Thu 14 February 2019
Inset day – Fri 15 February 2019
Spring break – Mon 18 February – Fri 22 February 2019
Term 4
Mon 25 February – Fri 5 April 2019
Easter break – Mon 8 April – Mon 22 April 2019