KS3 Assessment

The Dean Trust Wigan ‘Banding Assessment’ System

The way in which our young learners are assessed throughout their Secondary education is changing. The world of education has – is – going through a significant amount of change. At Dean Trust Wigan we believe this has given us a great opportunity to transform the quality of education on a day-to-day basis. Our aim is to accelerate the progress of learning for all of our pupils and ensure they move into successful and rewarding post-16 pathways. We hope you find the following information useful and encourage you to continue to work with us as we all strive for the best for the young people in our community.

Introduction to Banding System

Within KS3, Years 7-9, we will use the Banding System to assess how our pupils are progressing in each subject. The system works backwards from GCSE outcomes. GCSE outcomes are currently measured via grades, A*-G, however, subjects will be transitioning to numbered awards, 1-9, from 2017 (English and mathematics will award numbers in 2017 with most remaining subjects awarding numbers in 2018).

By using a system that feeds into the GCSE system we can accurately identify gaps in skills and knowledge in a timely manner and offer the appropriate support and intervention. Likewise, we can also identify how to further challenge pupils who have mastered the required skills and knowledge.

The Banding System will allow us to:

Provide a clear and accessible framework of subject content and skills with which the Academy can measure the progress of all students in all subjects.
Offer an opportunity to continue the ‘age related’ assessment from Primary and allow all stakeholders to see the path towards GCSE awards.
Provide a mastery based framework which is front loaded to ensure that key skills and knowledge are addressed at an early stage.
Provide explicit clarity about what students know and have mastered, and what they need to do to move to the next step.
Encourage an environment that provides detailed information to teachers and leaders about individuals and their progress.
Provide a clear system for reporting to parents which empowers them to support student progress.
How does a student progress through the Banding System?

Every pupil will be given their ‘Flight Path’ – a desired pathway that will lead them to their GCSE destination. This will be created using data from Primary and our own internal baseline assessments. Whilst this is designed to allow the Academy to set challenging targets and instil high expectations, it is always subject to change based on individual performance within lessons, assessments and tests. Learning does not always follow a predetermined path, however, the Flight Paths allow us to create a clear visual map of where a pupil is and what they need to do to improve and move towards their targets.

Pupils may stay in the same Band within a subject for a full year – even a full key stage. This does not mean that they have not made progress as Bands become more challenging as the Key Stage progresses. Pupils will always have a ‘Target Band and ‘Working in Band.’ This allows the staff in the Academy to set challenging targets, understand the individual expectations of a pupil and accurately assess what skills and knowledge they have mastered, thus, clearly allowing the creation of the next set of targets.

Below is a diagram of the Banding System at Key Stage 3:

Below is the Banding System with a Flight Path:

As you can see, the Flight Path (Fig.1.2), stays within Band 3 for all three years but the expectation is that this pupil will be at the ‘top’ of a Band 3 in Y9 and this will lead them into their GCSE studies with the skills and knowledge that will allow them to fulfil their potential. As mentioned before, this pupil may work in Band 2 at some points and may work in Band 4 at some points. This simply allows staff to accurately assess strengths and areas for improvement and ensure the appropriate action is taken.


There will be three Review Points throughout the academic year for all year groups. Pupils and parents/carers will receive a written summary of progress.

Pupils and parents/carers will be informed of Working at Band and Target Band.


Pupils will know via written and verbal feedback in lessons and exercise books and after key assessments the skills and knowledge they are mastering and how they can improve.

Each year group will receive one detailed report annually that will outline the specific skills and knowledge mastered, plus, the next steps for progression.