A simple pupil tracking system for the new Primary curriculum (2)

We started to look yesterday at the challenges facing schools in assessing and tracking pupils progress and today we are going to look at how you can implement a simple tracking system into school.

Again, if we look at the DFE literature we see mixed messages being given:

We are being told that

  • The 100 scaled score in KS2 is roughly the same as a level 4B on the old test format
  • The 100 scaled score in KS1 is roughly the same as level 2B on the old test format.

The DFE then goes on to say that having said this they are NOT directly comparable as we are now not assessing the same curriculum!

So let me quote you the rationale behind scaled scores and the reason for using them – again as quoted by the DFE.

“Tests are developed each year to the same specification, but because the questions must be different the overall difficulty of the tests may vary. Therefore we use scaled scores to ensure we can make accurate comparisons of pupil performance over time.”

I cannot understand how the DFE is unable to produce tests that are of an equivalent standard each year and which relies on a scaling calculation to level things up. I do think, however, the very fact that scaled scores exist allows the test pass levels (whilst still maintaining the 100 standard)  to be manipulated either upwards or downwards according to the political climate at the time…however enough of that !

Assessing Pupil progress

We have a new curriculum which both extends pupil learning and challenges expectations. This in itself is putting pressure on teachers as many report that the required levels are possibly a step too far!

Putting our concerns aside – how can we assess pupil progress in both our class and school?

I am not going to talk about marking or moderated work here – suffice to say that teachers should, as a matter of course, have an ongoing record of pupil achievement through the taught curriculum.

In KS 1 there are moderated baseline assessments which are carried out and this moderation of work continues through Y1 and Y2; being matched to level descriptors within the core subject areas. However in Y2 we also meet the KS1 SAT’s which test the children directly, reporting back on a pass / fail score of 100 after scaling.

In KS2 – the next assessment point is Y6 SAT’s, again which is tested directly with a pass / fail score of 100 after scaling.

If we are to track pupils progress across this new curriculum we NEED to assess proficiency in the new curriculum.


Can I say from the outset that all the thoughts below are my own opinion – it may not be the way your school thinks or operates or it may just help to follow the thought process as you develop your own strategies – whichever way…its just my thought pattern!

The usual way to check on pupil progress is to test – its something we have been doing regularly and it is a simple and efficient way to get results.

My personal opinion is that once a term is sufficient for this, in order that data can be dealt with efficiently and results collated and acted upon. Testing more frequently can lead to overload both in information and workload and neither help the situation.

Testing of pupils can happen from Y2 upwards and should be undertaken at the end of each terms work. As Y2 will be facing tests at the end of their year then I don’t think it unreasonable to also include them in the schools testing regime – however its not vital and you may find that you are getting enough data from moderated work.

If we are testing a class at the end of a terms work then it stands to reason that the test should cover that terms work! I know it sounds obvious but so many times I have seen tests administered that include work the pupils haven’t yet covered – where’s the sense in that? How can you make any sort of judgement on pupils if the test is not reflecting their current experience.

I have said before that I am unsure just how up to date are the current published tests – it may be that Core coordinators need to spend some time in addressing this area as it is indeed crucial to the tracking process.

So the test process should be:

  • Autumn term – that terms work only
  • Spring term – that terms work only
  • Summer term – full years work tested

Each terms test should be marked and graded as to the achievement in that term for that subject – with the final summer term test reflecting the pupil achievement across the year. Don’t forget – this is against the NEW CURRICULUM.

Dependant on your school approach – question analysis can be either carried out in full or specifically for those pupils who have struggled in order to indicate areas requiring intervention.


For those schools that have computerised systems you will need to know if your software has been upgraded to reflect the new marking and grading systems. If your system is still operating on the old levels then there is really no point in inputting test data as the resultant output will be of no use at all.

How it works:

Here is a simple procedure that allows you to get a scaled score for tests each term

You will need the “Raw score to scaled score DFE tables” KS2 and KS1 if you are doing this at Y2.

These tables are changed every year as DFE adjustments are made. So you will need to use new tables (issued in June) for the next academic year (Au, Sp, Su terms)


Using the Raw to Scaled tables write in the % that are the Raw scores of the total score available as shown in the second picture. (max score for the one shown was 50)

Now moving on….

  • Complete the test based on that particular terms work
  • Work out a percentage for the test result.
  • Compare the pupil test result % with the Raw / Scaled table percentages for that subject – look across and you will have the equivalent scaled score for your pupil on that test and for that terms content.
  • This should be done for all tests – Maths, Reading and SPAG

A simple tracking form for pupils:

Having got your scaled scores you can now plot them on the sheet below and track progress across terms and year groups.

There is one sheet for each subject for each pupil – 3 sheets in total. These sheets follow the pupil as they progress through the year groups.

The first picture shows a new sheet ready to be completed. Notice the thin red line at 100 the pass mark.


This second picture shows a completed sheet to Au term Y5.

Attainment can be either shown as a line graph or as  a bar chart.

Note that the first “X” shows the level of the pupils achievement from Y2 – so that it can be clearly seen if the pupil is above or below the expected attainment / pass level when they arrive at KS2.

By tracking achievement term on term it is possible to see immediately whether the pupil is achieving the required levels and also points progress which is equally important especially for poorer achievers.

Don’t forget – it is vital that the Au and Sp terms tests reflect the work covered in that term – the final Su term should be testing the whole years work based on the NEW curriculum.

Its such a major raising of expectation for the children I think personally, I would be scheduling in a couple of weeks revision before that final test!

I hope this has given you something to think about and perhaps guide your thinking if confusion reigned!

New scaled score tables are released about June time and can be downloaded ready for the new academic year.


Tracking sheets – if you would like to have copies of both the completed example and the blank sheet then I am happy to send them to you. They were originally done on Microsoft publisher but I also have jpeg copies that you can print and photocopy.

my email address is:  charleswatson@primarypractice.co.uk – please contact me if you would like me to send them.








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  1. Pingback: The easiest and simplest Assessment System to have - a mark book. - Primary Practice

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