The School is currently working remotely. Please click here for our latest news/information.


Key Stage 3 Assessment


Following the end of National Curriculum levels, Hardenhuish introduced a new assessment and reporting system in September 2016 for Years 7-9. The new system aims to further enhance the quality of teaching, learning and assessment so that our pupils make outstanding progress and have a strong foundation for achieving success at GCSE. When embedded, the system will:

  • be aspirational and challenging while giving pupils a sense of achievement
  • provide a precise and robust measure of pupil progress and attainment
  • make it clear to pupils, the knowledge, understanding and skills that they have mastered and the next steps they need to make in their learning
  • give reliable information to parents about how their child is performing
  • be coherent with the reformed GCSEs

Hardenhuish 1-9 system at Key Stage 3

The Hardenhuish Key Stage 3 assessment system is based on a 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest) grade scale. The knowledge, understanding and skills needed for each grade have been set so that the grade a pupil is working at during Key Stage 3 broadly reflects the standard we would expect a pupil to be at in order to progress to achieve the same grade at GCSE. For example, if a pupil achieves a grade 5 for a particular subject in Year 9 it puts them on track for achieving broadly a grade 5 in the same subject at GCSE. However, it is important to emphasise that a pupil’s rate of progress often varies over time and may differ between subjects. Therefore, while the grades a pupil achieves during Key Stage 3 may be an indicator of possible achievement at GCSE they are not the school’s prediction of a pupil’s GCSE outcomes.

The diagram above shows how the 1-9 grade system works from Year 7 to Year 11. Unlike the old National Curriculum levels, the standards for each grade get progressively harder from one year to the next during Key Stage 3. This means that a pupil is making:

  • good progress if they achieve the same grade in Year 7, 8 and 9 because the standard needed to achieve that grade gets progressively more challenging
  • rapid progress if the grade they achieve increases in Year 7, 8 and 9
  • insufficient progress if the grade they achieve falls during Key Stage 3.

Progress Maps

Each subject has a Progress Map which describes the standard of each grade for typically 3-4 assessment objectives. An assessment objective is a key strand of learning that is taught and assessed in a subject. These have been designed to make our assessment at Key Stage 3 coherent with how pupils will be assessed at GCSE. Progress Maps are used in everyday lessons, especially during assessments, to make it clear to pupils the grade they are working at and the next steps they need to take in their learning. The Progress Map for each subject can be accessed by clicking on the links below.

Types of Assessment

Subjects assess and grade pupils once per new term (6 times a year) using a combination of assessments that best suits that subject. This may include formal end of topic tests under exam conditions, project based assessments where pupils work in lessons and at home and other forms of assessment such as group presentations. Each termly assessment does not necessarily cover all of the assessment objectives in a subject’s Progress Map but does so over the course of a year. There are formal annual exams in Year 8 (January) and Year 9 (June) in which content covered thus far in Key Stage 3 is assessed under exam conditions. Each exam period lasts for a fortnight and pupils receive an exam timetable which shows when each subject exam takes place.


Three Progress Reports are published each year which contain an overall 1-9 grade for each subject as well as information about a pupil’s learning attributes including their effort, behaviour and homework. The progress which a pupil is making is monitored by comparing their 1-9 grade with a subject specific target. The final report sent home in Year 7, 8 and 9 also includes grades for each of the assessment objectives in the Progress Map for every subject.