Rigorous assessment is a key feature of student life at BDA. Teachers regularly check students' progress through both summative and formative assessment methods.

Formative assessment helps us find out what students do and do not know. Questions are directed to individual pieces of knowledge or skills. Because the questions are so specific, teachers can identify precise gaps in knowledge and understanding. This informs future teaching and any intervention that might be needed.

Summative assessment gives a measure of student progress and attainment at a specific point in time. This can help students to understand whether they are on track to achieve their target grades.

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment is an integral part of our curriculum. In every lesson, teachers will ask directed questions and plan tasks which help them to understand what students have learnt.

Teachers use a variety of strategies, such as:

  • asking for responses to questions without hands up so that the teacher can choose anyone in the class
  • using mini whiteboards to see the responses of all students or asking students to use hand signals to indicate their answer to a question
  • circulating the classroom listening to students’ discussions and looking at what they are doing to determine whether they have understood the tasks well

Teachers will use the information they gather in the course of the lesson to adapt their plans and give verbal feedback to students.

Teachers also use more formal approaches to formative assessment such as exit tickets (where students are asked to independently complete two or three questions focusing on the key learning from the lesson before leaving the class), regular quizzes and knowledge check points to find out what students have remembered over a longer period of time. These formative assessments will be used to find any areas of the curriculum that need to be re-taught in future lessons.

Summative Assessment

Students are formally assessed twice a year, following the Ark Schools Assessment Model. They receive numerical, summative assessment grades (KS3), GCSE grades (KS4) or A Level grades (KS5). Their summative grades are measured against individualised expected progress (based on their prior attainment at the most relevant Key Stage).


Students’ progress is monitored regularly throughout their schooling and is shared with students and parents throughout the year.  Each year group receives two assessment reports each year where parents should expect to see students’ current attainment grade, targets and predictive grades. Assessment dates are shared with parents at the start of the academic year so students can prepare in a timely manner (see below and on the newsletters).  NB: Students with SEND needs will have access arrangements in all summative assessments.

Grade Set Definitions

Age-related grade: this grade describes how a student is achieving relative to other students of their age nationally in that subject. For example, we know that nationally the top 20% of students will achieve a grade 7 or above in GCSE maths. Therefore, if a student is awarded an age-related grade 7 or above in maths this indicates that we believe they are working in the top 20% of pupils of their age nationally for their year group. If a student is making expected progress we would expect their age-related grade to stay the same from one assessment point to the next.

Current working grade: this grade allows students to see what students achieve when they sit full exam papers. It is calculated by adding the scores of all papers sat, along with any completed non-exam components. End of course boundaries are then applied to this total. If a student is making expected progress their current working grade is likely to increase from one assessment point to the next.

Teacher predicted grade: this is the grade the teacher believes a student will achieve when they sit their final GCSE examination. This grade is based on the progress they reasonably expect a student to make between now and the final exam.

Revision Materials

The school provides revision booklets and examination materials, such as past papers, exemplar materials and examination reports to students to support students’ assessment preparations for relevant courses. Students are encouraged to develop excellent independent skills and habits for revision, memory recall and application of knowledge in a range of contexts to ensure they are confident and prepared.

Secondary Assessment Schedule 2021-22


Assessments Dated
Year 11 & Year 13 mock exams Mon 15th Nov – Fri 26th Nov
Year 7 – 10 and 12 assessments Mon 29th Nov – Fri 10th Dec
Year 11 and 13 Full mock exams Mon 28th Feb – Fri 11th Mar
Year 7-10 and 12 assessments Mon 14th Mar - Fri 25th Mar
Year 10 and 12 end of year exams Mon 13th June – Fri 24th June
Year 7 – 9 end of year exams Mon 20th June – Weds 30th June