Access Key Definitions
Skip navigation
Access key details
Home page
Latest updates
Site map
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Terms and conditions

The DfE is conducting a review of the primary and secondary National Curriculum.
This site contains the statutory programmes of study for National Curriculum subjects which maintained schools must follow until a new curriculum is in place.

Assessing pupils' progress in English

QCDA and the National Strategies have produced the Assessing pupils’ progress (APP) materials, to support periodic assessment in English for reading and writing.

APP is a structured approach to assessing English so teachers can:

  • track pupils’ progress in reading and writing throughout key stage 3

  • use diagnostic information about pupils’ strengths and weaknesses.

Based on the assessment focuses (AFs) that underpin national curriculum attainment targets, the approach improves the quality and reliability of teacher assessment. It has proved to be robust, manageable and effective in practice.

APP: the basic approach

The APP approach is straightforward. At regular intervals, which are planned to fit in with school assessment policy, teachers review pupils’ work using APP guidelines to build a profile of their attainment. If they wish, teachers can choose from a bank of APP assessment tasks to provide additional evidence of pupil attainment. The information gained from the process allows teachers to:

  • analyse by AF the relative strengths and weaknesses of each pupil (at levels 3-8)

  • assign each pupil an overall national curriculum level for reading and writing

  • use this information to set curricular targets to strengthen pupils’ learning and inform their own future teaching by making links to the relevant objectives from the Framework for teaching English: Years 7, 8 and 9.

The advantages of adopting APP

APP is powerful because it:

  • embraces both formative and summative assessment

  • supports teachers in aligning their judgements systematically with national standards

  •  increases the consistency and reliability of teacher assessment

  • is systematic and also adaptable to local contexts.

Other advantages for an English department of adopting APP are that it:

  • contributes to the professional development of all teachers, particularly of less experienced colleagues

  • provides high-quality evidence to inform reporting on pupil progress

  • contributes to improved learning and more responsive teaching

  • offers opportunities for improved transfer and transition.

The APP materials

The suite of APP materials includes:

  • a handbook for English subject leaders and teachers explaining how to use the resources and how to implement this approach to assessment in school

  • assessment guidelines for use with pupils' ongoing work in reading and writing 

  • standards files containing collections of pupils' work, assessed and annotated to exemplify the APP approach and national standards

The complete range of materials is available on the Standards Site.

Back to top