Reporting at Key Stage 3

In creating our reporting system, the school focused on what is most important to parents, providing a clear answer to the questions ‘Are they working hard?’ and ‘Are they learning a lot?’

In order to move away from the problems associated with reporting numerical levels, we report on ‘Effort’ and ‘Progress’ and also provide Cognitive Ability Test (CAT) grades.


There is an effort grade for each subject and this ranges from 1 to 5 according to the descriptors below:

1      –  effort is excellent

2      –  effort is good

3      –  effort is satisfactory

4      –  effort is inconsistent

5      –  work shows no evidence of any real effort

Progress Indicators

There is also a progress indicator, as set out below, to give an indication of the progress a child is making in any given subject.

  • Well above: The student is making progress at well above expected rate
  • Above: The student is making progress at above expected rate
  • Meeting: The student is making progress at the expected rate
  • Below : The student is making progress at below the expected rate
  • Well below : The student is making progress at well below the expected rate

By recognising that not every student is aiming for the same grade, the Progress Indicators are able to identify when a student is under performing or indeed, making outstanding progress.  Rather than focusing on national average expectations of progress, this indicator highlights an individual’s own rate of development. This is an important distinction.

For example, a very able student maybe producing very good work  in class, above the national average, but if the teacher thinks that they are not fulfilling their full potential, they may still be judged as ‘below the expected rate of progress’.  The teacher believes that this child is capable of more and the progress indicator allows them to report this to parents in a way that a simple numerical level never could.  Likewise, a student who is working below the national average standard, yet working hard to overcoming significant learning difficulties, could be judged as making progress at ‘above the expected rate’. This should be celebrated and rewarded, whereas awarding a low numerical level would be demoralising and not reflective of the good rate of progress made in class.

It is not about where your child should be but is about their engagement and the progress they are making.

Cognitive Ability Test (CAT) grades

The report also includes Cognitive Ability Test (CAT) grades. The CAT grade on the reports gives an independent and objective indication of a child’s potential at GCSE by providing an indicative 9-1 GCSE grade. It is not a teacher’s predicted grade as students at Saint Nicholas frequently achieve higher than their CAT grades. This test is a diagnostic assessment that is designed to help students and their teachers understand how students learn and what their academic potential might be. It assesses how students think in areas that are known to make a difference to learning.

GCSE 9-1 grades

GCSEs are awarded from 9 to 1 with 9 being the highest. Below is an infogram from the DfE explaining how the 9-1 grades relate to the old A*-G grades: