New Curriculum Assessment Glossary

Rising Stars has reached out to primary school teachers across the country through focus groups and social media to find out which new curriculum assessment terms teachers find tricky. We’ve included an explanation of each of the terms below. If there are other terms you'd like us to add, we'd love to hear from you! Tweet us at @risingstarsedu or email with your suggestions.

Age-related expectations

These refer to what children are expected to know by the end of each year (for the core subjects) or key stage (for all other subjects) based on the requirements of the new national curriculum. They are stated within the programmes of study for each subject.

Baseline assessment

‘Baseline’ assessment involves the collection of data from assessing children on entry into a particular year or key stage. This initial data serves as a basis for measuring progress against throughout the year, in subsequent years or key stages. The Department for Education has introduced the reception baseline, a baseline assessment in reception, to improve how primary schools’ progress is measured. From September 2015, schools have the option to sign up to use the reception baseline from an approved provider. In 2022 the DfE will use whichever measure shows the most progress: either a schools’ reception baseline to key stage 2 results, or their key stage 1 results to key stage 2 results.

Floor Standard

The floor standard for a school defines the minimum standards for pupil achievement and/or progress that the Government expects schools in that particular phase of education to meet. If a school’s performance falls below this floor standard, then the school will come under scrutiny through inspection. In 2015-2016, schools will be above the floor if pupils make sufficient progress across all of reading, writing and mathematics or if more than 65% of them achieve the national standard in each of reading, writing and mathematics.


The new programme of study for key stage 1 and key stage 2 mathematics states that children are expected to achieve ‘mastery’. The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) refer to mastery as the deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of a subject. For example, mastery in mathematics should build as a child goes through school and is considered much more valuable than the short term ability to answer questions in tests or exams. Any children considered to have attained the ‘Mastery standard’ are expected to explore the current curriculum in greater depth and build on the breadth of their knowledge and skills within that key stage (rather than moving on to the next year’s content).

More able

According to the DfE, ‘more able’ children can be defined as those who have achieved (or are on track to achieve) the highest results in their school at the end of each year or key stage. There is an expectation by the DfE and Ofsted that schools should be challenging their ‘more able’ children sufficiently in order to ensure they reach their full potential. The new Ofsted School Inspection Handbook (effective from September 2015) states that inspectors will pay particular attention to whether the most able pupils are making progress towards attaining the highest standards and achieving as well as they should. They will also consider whether more able pupils are receiving the support they need to reach their full potential.

National standard

The national standard refers to the expected standard at which the government expects children to be working by the end of each year or key stage. In the new scaled scoring system for the national tests, the national standard equals 100.

Raw score

A raw score refers to the exact number of marks a child has earned on a test, without any sort of adjustment or transformation. For example, if a child correctly answers 10 out of 20 questions, and each correct answer is worth one mark, the child’s raw score would be 10. Raw scores from standardised tests may be converted into scaled scores to enable consistent reporting from one year to the next.

Scaled score

A scaled score is the total number of marks (raw score) converted onto a standardised scale. Scaled scores maintain their meaning over time, allowing for consistent reporting year after year. For example, if two children achieve the same scaled score on two different tests, they will have demonstrated the same attainment (even though the raw scores may have been different). In the new scaled score for the key stage 1 and 2 national tests, 100 will always represent the ‘national standard’, but the equivalent ‘raw score’ may be slightly different each year.

Standardised tests

Standardised tests assess how a pupil is performing compared to pupils in other schools. These tests are primarily used for summative assessment although some also provide diagnostic information. In order to obtain reliable results from standardised tests they must be administered following precise procedures and instructions. Usually the tests must be taken at a fixed point, for example at the beginning or end of a specified school year. There is no flexibility in these arrangements and failure to follow them can affect the reliability of the results.

Useful websites:


age-related expectations, baseline assessment, formative assessment, key stage 1, key stage 2, mastery, more able, national standard, new curriculum, raw scores, scaled scores, standardised tests, summative assessment

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