Understanding Progress

& Attainment Data

Our vision – Inspired to learn, supported to succeed

Understanding Progress and Attainment Data

At Ringwood School, we use a number of important terms to help students understand the progress they make in their learning.

It is important that you and your son or daughter understand them so that you can talk to your child about their learning and help them make progress in their lessons

Progress Data at Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9)
Please note that further to changes made by the Department for Education, the old system of National Curriculum Levels that had been used to assess students’ work has been scrapped. Each school has developed its own system and has responsibility for communicating it directly to its students and parents. We have decided to adopt a flightpath model that assesses students’ progress towards a long term (GCSE) target.

Progress Data at Key Stages 4 and 5 (Year 10 to 13)
Our systems and terminology here remain unchanged. Key definitions are given below – please do read them and also please do contact us if you would like further information about any aspect of them:

TARGET – This is the grade or level that students should be aiming for at the end of their course (for KS4 & 5 students). Target grades and levels are agreed following individual discussions between students and their subject teachers.

To help us set aspirational targets, we use a number of different national datasets. These are explained more fully in the SATs, CATs and FFT links . Each of these systems provides us with a slightly different piece of information about our students and their learning potential. All of them are used to set ambitious and achievable targets. We believe that targets should be used to encourage students to be aspirational in their learning


This is the raw grade or level a student receives at the end of a unit of work, a year or a course. Attainment is very important but it only tells part of the story. For instance, an able student who gets a B grade has got a good pass. However, that same student might have been capable of an A grade if they had progressed more quickly. Therefore, taking progress and achievement into account is important when looking at how well students are doing in their learning.


This takes into account the progress made and the final attainment of a student. For instance, if a less able student has received a C grade when his or her target was a D, they have achieved very well. This is because they have made more than the expected progress and have received a good GCSE pass. Achievement is important to consider because it encourages students to continue to make progress in their learning.


SATs are also called Key Stage 2 National Curriculum Tests. These are tests in the core subjects of English and Maths that students sit at the end of KS2. Some parts of the tests are externally marked and some are teacher assessed. The results are used to generate KS3 & KS4 target setting data. From 2015 onwards, levels have been scrapped and replaced by a set of standardised scores centred around 100. (100 = average; below 100 = below national average; above 100 = above national average).


FFT stands for Fischer Family Trust which is an independent charity that provides most schools with GCSE estimates. Schools then use these estimates to set internal targets. Because we are a school that is continually striving to continue to improve what we do, we use FFT data that compares us against the top 20% of schools nationally. This means our targets are challenging but also achievable.

Reporting Current and Predicted Grades and Levels

We report on progress three times a year to parents and students for Years 7, 8, 9. We report Current and Predicted Grades three times a year for Year 10 and twice a year to parents and students for Years 11, 12 and 13. This is due to the shortened summer term which is given over to external exams in these year groups.

In addition to these Progress Checks, there is an annual consultation evening for each year group. For Years 10, 11, 12 and 13, there is an additional consultation evening for invited students. This is designed to help tackle possible problems early and help students achieve highly.

Please talk regularly to your son and daughter about their Progress Checks. They are an important indication of how well they are working in school. Other important questions to discuss with your child include whether they consistently:

· Behave sensibly and consider others?
· Bring the correct equipment to school every day?
· Remember their exercise book and text books for lessons?
· Contribute to lessons by asking and answering questions?
· Complete class work to the best of their ability?
· Complete home learning to the best of their ability without leaving it to the last minute?
· Work together sensibly with other students in class?
· Understand the targets that their class teacher sets them to improve their work in a specific subject?
· Use their diary to record their targets and assessment data?

Data should be used to raise questions about how students are learning in the classroom.


This is the rate at which pupils learn in lessons and over longer periods of time. Every student is entitled to achieve and make progress in their learning. Whilst every student begins at a different starting point, making progress in their learning is the key aim for everyone.

Progress is usually measured by comparing the pupils’ attainment at the end of a year or key stage with their attainment when they started and establishing how much improvement there has been.
From 2016 onwards, schools will be judged on the progress students make across their curriculum in their best 8 subjects (“Progress 8”). Tracking Progress carefully enables us to make sure all students continue to move forward in their learning.

ALPS (KS5 only)

ALPS stands for Advanced Level Performance System and is a system used to help in the setting of KS5 targets at AS and A2 level. ALPS also provide the school with) reports to help us analyse performance year on year against national benchmarks meaning we can continue to improve. ALPS compares our school against the top 25% of schools nationally meaning that our A Level targets are challenging but achievable.


Cognitive Abilities Tests are assessments that identify pupils’ strengths, weaknesses and learning preferences. CATs are not about knowledge recall and require no preparation. They offer all pupils the same opportunity to show their underlying ability. CATs give a detailed profile of pupils’ verbal, non-verbal and quantitative abilities and the result data can be used to build an understanding of a student’s potential and learning style. In turn, this is used to inform the development of effective teaching and learning that meets the needs of students.

Students at Ringwood School sit CATS just before they join us in year 6 and again in year 9. For a minority of students who join us in year 12 and do not have GCSE results, they will also sit CATs at the beginning of their time in sixth form.

STARs Attitude Descriptors KS3 and KS4