Key Stage Three (Age 14)

From 1995 until 2008, students were tested in English (reading/ writing), mathematics and science at the end of Key Stage 3 (Year 9) in state-funded schools (maintained schools, Academies and CTCs). Some independent schools also chose to take part in the tests.
Although testing at KS3 no longer takes place, teacher assessment data is still collected.



Data collection

Key Stage 3 tests were similar to Key Stage 2 tests. Details of the test arrangements were published each year by QCA/NAA/QCDA in their Assessment and Reporting Arrangements booklet.
Pupils sat a range of papers which were externally marked, with marks converted to levels through the use of "Threshold Tables" (published on QCA website). Levels were awarded in the range 4 to 7 (for English), 3 to 8 (for mathematics) and 3-7 (for science). Maths and science tests were "tiered", hence teachers had to use their judgement to enter pupils for the tier of test appropriate to their ability. The basic data for each KS3 subject includes the tier and the test mark for each paper, as well as the overall test level achieved.
As maths consisted of 3 papers in each of 4 tiers, it meant that there was a risk of pupils being entered for mixed tier tests- such pupils can be identified by code "V" in the level column for maths.
Other common non-numeric test levels are
A- Absent
B- Working below the lowest level of the test (i.e. at level 3 or below for English, level 2 or below for science and maths)
D- Disapplied
N- Insufficient marks to be awarded a level
T- Unable to access the tests due to lack of proficiency in English, or through disability

The NPD Threshold tables can be used to create finely graded levels or points scores, as at KS2.
NPD extracts contain derived KS3 point scores. For earlier years these are based on assigning point values to the numeric test levels, and the non-numeric levels B and N.
For later years, fine graded point scores are also included on NPD, where the marks and tiers information is used to interpolate point scores within each level.
To produce a fine level, simply divide the fine graded point score by 6: for example in FG point scores, the level 5 threshold scores 30 points, a mid-range level 5 scores 33 and the level 6 threshold scores 36. Undifferentiated levels will appear at the mid-point eg Level 4 = 27 = 4.5

Teacher assessment data is still collected from maintained schools. However, the collection is not complete.




Validity of measure
2008 data was of poor quality and only published at national level.


Cleaning the variable
Stata code
SPSS code
Checks needed

Description of values across cohorts
National results were published annually from 1995 to 2008 by DfE
School level results were published annually in the DfE performance tables/Achievement and Attainment tables from 2002 to 2007 for maintained schools.
Results by pupil characteristics were published from [2003?] until 2007 by DfE