National Curriculum levels
In England and Wales, children start to study the National Curriculum when they are in Year 1. The progression through school is marked in key stages, as shown:
At the end of each key stage, the government collects national data. It may be from teacher assessment (at the end of EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 3) or from formal tests (SATS at the end of Key Stage 2, GCSE at the end of Key Stage 4 and A-levels at the end of Key Stage 5), but across the country all children are assessed according to the same set of criteria.
The government also sets targets for children to reach. The targets are calculated from the assumption that the minimum acceptable standard in Year 11 is 5 C– A* at GCSE, including maths and English.
National data has been used to collect information about children's progress through school and this has informed the levels expected at the end of the other key stages.