With OFSTED now focusing on the progress pupils make between KS2 and KS4 it’s more important than ever that schools have a very clear idea exactly how much progress both individual pupils and the various groups within school are making. Currently, Ofsted are using levels of progress from KS2 to KS4 as the main metric for judging the progress made by secondary school pupils. Over the last 12 months I’ve been in several secondary schools where the main focus has been to either identify how many levels of progress a pupil has made, or to calculate targets based on pupils making a number of levels of progress between KS2 and KS4. At first sight the formulas used can appear complex, but with a bit of practice SIMS Assessment Manager can be used very effectively to identify and monitor pupil progress, so when OFSTED do come calling, schools can be very confident. In this example, I’ll show you how to calculate the levels of progress from KS2 to KS4 made by your pupils.

Thirteen is a Magic Number

Most schools would agree that three levels of progress is represented by pupils who move from a level 4 to a C grade, or from a level 5 to a B grade, or from a level 6 to and A grade or from a level 3 to a D grade. We know that a ‘C’ grade is worth 40 points and a level 4 is worth 27 points, hence the difference between the two is 13. Thirteen points is also the difference between a B (46) and a level 5 (33) and between a level 3 (21) and a grade D (34). The consensus from the schools I’ve visited recently is that we can infer that if level 4 to C represents 3 levels of progress then level 4 to a grade B represents 4 levels of progress. And level 4 to grade A represents 5 levels of progress while level 4 to D must be two levels of progress. In each case three levels progress is represented by a difference of 13 points, two levels of progress is represented by 7 (13-6) points progress, four levels of progress is 19 (13+6) points progress and five levels of progress is 25 (13+6+6) points progress. Okay so far? Good. Now things get technical and you’ll need some intermediate Assessment Manager experience to put this knowledge to work…

Use A Gradeset to ‘Convert’ 13 points into 3 Levels Progress

  • First, create this gradeset:

Levels of Progress KS2 to KS4

  • Next create an aspect that uses the new gradeset:

Levels of Progress from KS2 to KS4 - the Whole Levels Converter Aspect

Create a Template to Calculate the Levels of Progress from KS2 to KS4

  • Create a new template. Call it whatever you want.
  • Add a column that contains the pupils’ KS2 results. You might choose to use the official result that is contained the aspect called ‘EN KS2: English Test Lev’ and the result set called ‘Key Stage 2 Validated Result’ – alternatively you might use your own aspects. The important thing to remember is that this technique only work for results held as whole levels (e.g. 3, 4, 5) – it doesn’t work for sub levelled grades.
  • Add the column that contains the GCSE grade – remember the GCSE grade might me their target grade, FFT estimate grade or a ‘currently working at’ grade – it’s up to you.
  • Next add a data column for ‘data review using a formula’. Use the DIFFERENCE formula to calculate the number of points difference between the GCSE grade and the KS2 result.
  • Finally, add a column for data entry using a formula. Choose the new aspect you created above and use the MARKS TO GRADE formula to convert the DIFFERENCE column into a grade. So if the difference is 13 points, the MARKS TO GRADE formula will convert it to a ‘grade’ of 3 levels. See below:


  • Save your template and create a marksheet from it in the usual way.
  • Your finished marksheet should look (something)  like this:

Final_Marksheet   Note that you can right click on the final column heading to get a very useful breakdown of the percentages of pupils making 2, 3, 4 or 5 levels of progress.