No longer a ‘Levels’ playing field News article - view all

An Alps blog on setting aspirational targets with, and tracking the progress of, students with KS2 standardised scaled scores.


From 2016 students have been awarded standardised scores at the end of KS2.

In September 2018, schools with a three-year KS4 will be wanting to set their students aspirational KS4 target grades based on progress from their KS2 standardised scores.

At Alps we receive the national data from the DfE and our massively talented Data Team have crunched the data to align the new standardised scaled scores with our GCSE bands based on prior attainment using the decimalised levels that students gained at KS2 until 2015.

Table 1, below, shows how they are aligned and what we would suggest the Minimum Expected Grades should be, if you are aiming for top 25% Value-Added progress, when you start your target setting conversations with teachers and students.

Table 1:

Undoubtedly many, if not all, of you will have created 11-16 flightpaths from KS2 to KS4 for your students in the post-levels landscape.

Checking your flightpath against what the national data is telling us would be our recommendation.

Similarly, if the DfE release AT8 estimates for students with standardised scaled scores from KS2 in the autumn you will want to check your flightpaths against them.

Those of you who use Alps at KS4 will see the information in Table 1 in your 2018 KS4 report to inform your aspirational target setting with subjects and students. You will also see similar tables setting Minimum expectations for BTEC and Cambridge National courses.

Those of you who also use Alps Connect Interactive at KS4 will additionally be able to import your actual student target grades for each subject studied and then be able to track against those as well tracking towards the Alps Minimum Expected Grades (MEGs) in 2018-19 and beyond. Please remember that we advise that our MEGs should always be used as the start of the target-setting conversation and must never be seen as ceilings.

Changing tack, how best to use Alps Connect when tracking students in the younger years (Y7-9) needs some thought.

If, to go to one extreme, you import ‘current’ or ‘working at’ GCSE grades for your Y9 cohort your Value-Added progress for all subjects in Connect Interactive is likely to look ‘blue’.

As there is no ‘national flightpath’ from KS2-KS4, and as students do not make consistent progress through time (nor indeed across all subjects studied), there may be a need to consider how best to translate your students’ Y9 ‘current’ or ‘working at’ grades into realistic end of course grades.

To give an example, might a student with a standardised score of 106, working at grade 3 in Maths in Term One of Y9 be expected to achieve grade 5 at the end of KS4 if current progress is maintained? What would your flightpath suggest?

There is certainly a case for considering how best to translate current grades into realistic predicted grades.

Uploading those, as well as the current grades, into Connect so senior and middle leaders can get a good feel for how current progress is stacking up against future KS4 outcomes and progress scores might be the best strategy.

Final note from Alps: If you want to use Connect Interactive to monitor student with standardized scaled scores, you will have to convert this to a KS2 Fine Point score band as per Table 1.