Assessment is arguably the most important aspect of teaching and learning as it provides both pupils and teachers with the vital information which informs the next steps to be taken.

Assessment can be oral, written, observational, discrete, on-going…the list is long and it can be conducted by teachers and teaching assistants, the children themselves through peer assessment and, occasionally, by external examiners!

Since the demise of the National Curriculum system of levels in 2014, we have adopted a programme called 21 Steps, developed within Kent as a replacement numerical system which allows greater pupil engagement with their own development as their next steps are always visible to them and guides teachers through their planning of threads and activities for children achieving at different levels.

Each year group is split into three steps, starting from Reception Year with steps 1 – 3 and progressing up to year 6 where steps 19-21 are the expected standard.

The revised National Curriculum of 2014 considerably raised the bar in terms of national expectations of children and these steps reflect those changes. Pupils are expected to achieve “at the expected standard” which has been defined during this interim year but for this year only. Some may achieve “the expected standard at greater depth” and a few may dip below that expected standard at times in their school career, but the point of the 21 Steps system, used widely in Kent schools, is that it promotes the tracking of pupils at every step of their progress allowing staff, pupils and their parents to see achievements and the all important…so what’s next?

At the time of the March 2016 Ofsted inspection, we have been assessing Reading, Writing and Maths in this way, moderating our standards with other local schools. In due course we intend to apply the 21 Steps programme to Speaking and Listening and Science and to seek out/adopt/create robust systems for measuring progress and achievement in other National Curriculum subject areas.

View our 21 Step Assessment System