Truly amazing results. Using the weekly skills and focusing on the gaps meant we got our best grammar results ever. And this was with our very low achieving cohort!

P. Haylock, DHT: Poverest Primary, Kent

A1a. Grammar Criteria System

AIM: To ensure consistent recording, reporting and tracking of pupil progress in grammar across the whole school.

The statutory requirements of the National Curriculum Programme of Study (PoS) for vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are broken down into content areas of word, sentence, text, punctuation and terminology. The statements of content are of varying complexity and range between 9 and 12 across different age groups.

For the purposes of clarity and consistency, we have broken these broad statements down further into specific assessment criteria. Each year group has its own assessment criteria sheet taken from the relevant PoS.

The Stage 4 criteria corresponds to the grammar PoS for year 4, Stage 5 (A1:4) to Y5 etc.

Each Stage is broken down into 4 sub stages (similar to old sub levels): Emerging; Developing; Securing and Mastering (or Greater Depth).

It provides a 'one sheet to view' overview of a child's performance across all areas.

This one sheet allows for an assessment to be made across the PoS every term so that pupil progress is visual, targets are obvious and teaching and support are fully informed.

The expectation is that the vast majority of pupils become 'Secure' against their age-related criteria by the end of each school year. To do that, they will need to achieve around 70% of the assessment criteria over each year (or about 18 criteria).

What makes our approach unique is that ALL criteria are assessed EVERY term, whether or not they have been taught. This may seem counter intuitive, time consuming for teachers and even stressful for the children. The opposite is true in practice.

With an assertive mentoring approach the children actually look forward to the next assessment. That is, these are not tests, as such, they are assessments. They are to identify strengths, show progress, and inform teaching and support in order to ensure success.

A1b. Grammar Termly Assessments

We felt the children were very well prepared for SPaG; believe it or not, a P8-at-KS1 child scored 100! There's no question it has had a major positive impact for us.

R. Peacock, HT: Moresby School, Moresby

Aim: To ensure that ALL criteria from ALL stages are regularly, consistently, accurately and efficiently assessed.

Every year group/stage has 3 assessments (A1:5) (one for each term throughout the year).

For clarity and continuity, each assessment is out of a possible score of 26 for each year group from Y1 to Y6. Each question tests a specific criteria i.e. Q1 tests criteria 1 at that Stage; Q2 tests criteria 2 etc. Children should be given 30 minutes to answer as many questions as possible in test conditions.

After marking the assessment, enter the score for each question in the corresponding cell on the Criteria Tracking Sheet (A1:4). Count the total marks awarded on the test. Enter the raw score in the column at the bottom of the tracking sheet and that shows where they are within the stage: i.e. Emerging, Developing, Securing, or Mastering/Greater Depth.

The teacher AND pupil can now SEE what progress has been made since the last assessment and how many more marks are needed on the next termly test to stay on trajectory to meet the end of year target.

The teacher and/or Teaching Assistant refers to the targets whenever possible and appropriate during teaching, support and marking.


We have been using the Grammar Hammer resources throughout school and our SPAG score was 82% - our highest ever!

B. Fyrth, HT: Thomlinson Junior School, Cumbria

Aim: To ensure good pupil progress against their relevant age-related PoS every term.

These provide regular coverage of the essential skills needed to ensure good pupil progress in grammar across the whole school. Pupils take the Grammar Hammer (A1:7) once a week using a positive 'beat your own score' approach. It takes approximately 30 minutes. The teacher/TA can assist those who need it and remind others of their target questions.

There are 25 questions on a single sheet of A4 which cover all the grammar content for the relevant stage, as well as most of the spelling. They are written so as to require very little writing to complete.

Every 'Grammar Hammer' question is cross referenced to our Writing Criteria and reflect the content of the Termly Assessments (A1:2). The Answer Sheets (A1:8) contain all teaching points and explanations for all criteria.

The weekly repetition ensures that basic skills are internalized rather than forgotten over time. Children can track their own scores progress on their Weekly Record Sheet (A1:11) and SEE the progress they are making which is highly motivational. There are also Class Record Sheets (A1:12) for the teacher to maintain an overview of class performance and progress as well as Gap Analysis (A1:13) in order to help focus teaching and support if needed.

For one session per week, the teacher goes through that week's Skills Check and tries to address common misconceptions. Better to cover well a small number of criteria per week than try to cover too many. This is the strength of regular repetition, allowing concepts to be revisited when necessary.

An Excel Workbook is also provide which allows you to record your classes' weekly 'Grammar Hammer' scores and automatically colour codes them using the Assertive Mentoring traffic light highlighting system. This provides a strong visual record to inform teaching and demonstrate pupil progress over time.


Peter Boddy

Phone number
07810 125 494

Eamonn Farrar

Phone number
07951 391 388

© 2020 Assertive Mentoring LTD All rights reserved.