NC Bands - Beginning, Developed, Embedding, Mastered

NC Bands is the original Pupil Asset solution to linear, summative tracking of the National Curriculum 2014. Designed as the summative partner to the NC Frameworks (see here), NC Bands uses the terminology of Beginning (Beg), Developed (Dev), Embedded (Emb) and Mastered (Mast) to describe children's attainment. This allows schools to carefully monitor each learner and to measure progress throughout the year from any start point, including for learners attaining 'out-of-year'.  

The NC Bands have been designed as an inclusive, whole-school tracking solution. As such, the Development Matters ages bands and Early Learning Goals for EYFS are also built into the model. P Scales are also available as is an additional P9 level to help SENCos and Special Schools record progress from P8 to the raised expectations within the Year 1 program of study. 

Making a summative judgement

Grades such as 2 Beg, 3 Dev and 4 Emb describe which year group a learner is working within and the depth of learning they have achieved. Generally, the Developed grade (Dev) indicates that a learner has reached the expected level for their year group, whilst Embedding (Emb) and Mastering (Mast) suggest that a learner is broadening and deepening their understanding, beyond the expected standard. 

Where learners are performing out of year, teachers can use the NC Bands from previous year groups or from the P Scales to record attainment. These grades also act as a baseline from which progress can be measured and Value Added scores calculated. 

As it is envisaged that most learners will end each year at Developed (Dev), it is advised that schools use the Dev+, Emb and Mast grades to show transition from one year group to the next. It can be tempting to re-baseline learners at Beginning (Beg) for each year group, but this overlooks the importance of prior attainment and will have an impact on progress calculations. The implication for higher attaining learners who reach the Emb and Mast grade is that they should progress more quickly through the Beginning stage of new age-related expectations, giving them time to reach Emb or Mast in subsequent year groups. 

The following table shows how a typical Year 2 learner might progress through the NC Bands: 

For schools seeking more specific guidance on which NC Band to give learners, summative judgements can also be generated using the Weighted Percentage column. On the NC Frameworks, each skill at Beginning is awarded 1 point, each skill at Developed is awarded 2 points and each skill at Embedding is awarded 3 points. By expressing the sum of each learner's points as a percentage of the total points available, a Weighted percentage can indicate how deeply a learner has achieved the curriculum objectives. 

Measuring attainment

Pupil Asset uses a range of colours to compare learners' attainment against school expectations. For example, light green indicates that a learner's attainment is expected for that time of year and that they are on track to reach the end of year expectations if they continue to make expected progress.

Attainment colours are determined by each school's Colour Map which breaks down expected attainment into half termly points. Colour Maps work on the principle of a 'flightpath'.  Each school can determine their own Colour Map if they wish to. 

To see your school's own Colour Map, navigate to Help > Colour Progression and choose the relevant subject and year groups from the drop-down list. The default Colour Map for NC Bands is shown below:

Measuring progress

Progress can be calculated using 1 of 3 Assessment Measures. The approach you will take may depend on whether you use the in-between NC Bands (Beg+, Dev+) and the degree of accuracy that you require. 

This can be broken down as follows: 

For more information on how to measure progress, see 'How to measure progress in Pupil Asset - basic notes'

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