Progress through National Curriculum levels


How children's progress is measured

All children, in all schools, are constantly being assessed. This includes formal tests, but also day-to-day observations of children working and answering questions in class, as well as marking and looking at what children are achieving.

These day-to-day observations are used for Assessment for Learning (AfL), so that teachers are aware of what children are able to do now, what they need to do next and what is needed to get them to their new target.

Many schools record progress on a government chart called Assessing Pupil Progress (APP). This gives teachers clear guidance about what the next steps might be for each child.

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In most primary schools, teachers are asked for termly or half-termly assessments of how the children are achieving in reading, writing and maths. Some schools collect assessments for more subjects, including ICT (computers) and science.

Teachers and head teachers use the information from these regular assessments to identify children who are not making the progress they should be, or children whose progress is better than expected.

Some schools use formal published tests as part of the information they collect on children, but these tests are used to confirm or to question teacher assessment. In primary schools, teacher assessment has been found to be more accurate because it takes into account a child's performance every day, not just in the time it takes to do the test.

National average progress through the levels

All the National Curriculum levels are divided into three parts, C, B and A. So a child who is working at level 2C is only beginning to achieve the level 2 targets, whereas a child who is performing at level 2A is approaching the level 3 targets.

The C, B and A are known to teachers as 'sub-levels'; the 1, 2, 3, 4 are known as 'levels'. The number of sublevels an 'average' child might make is:

  Key Stage  

1 2 3

  Number of sub levels 
  progress a year

 2-3   1-2   1-2 


This can be illustrated by looking at the progress in reading of a fictional 'average' child through primary school.

  End of Year

Rec 1 2 3 4 5 6

  Level  attained

  6-9     1A     2B   2A/3C   3B     4C     4A  




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Last updated: 2 months ago