Case Studies and testimonials / The New English School, Jordan

The New English School, Jordan

Cambridge Checkpoint and Progression Tests


About the school

The New English School in Jordan educates over 500 primary students and 220 lower secondary students. Since 2017, the school has delivered the Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary curriculum, focusing on Mathematics, Science and English as a Second Language.

We spoke to David Cooksey, Head of Academics, who tells us that Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary curricula provide “a robust and coherent approach which prepares students for Cambridge IGCSE and International AS & A Level exams.” Teachers at The New English School use Cambridge Checkpoint and Progression Tests to measure the learner journey as they move along the Primary and Lower Secondary pathway. They also use baseline and diagnostic assessments from our Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring (CEM).

The benefits of integrating Cambridge assessments

Using Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary Checkpoint and Progression Tests along with Cambridge CEM baseline assessments provides an integrated assessment experience at the school.

David explains the approach: “We use Cambridge CEM baseline assessments (the MidYIS test for students aged 11 to 14) and Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary assessments to provide a complete ‘ecosphere’ on the learners. We have a vast amount of data on the learners which we are pulling together including progression test results, MidYIS results and Checkpoint results. We use the MidYIS baseline assessments to provide an indication of potential, and Cambridge Checkpoint and Progression Tests as summative tests to indicate achievement.”

David sees himself as a data filter, taking in all the information and then presenting it to staff in a useful way. This makes it easier for staff to use the information where it counts – in the classroom.

What is Cambridge Checkpoint?

The Cambridge Checkpoint tests are used at the end of the Primary or Lower Secondary programmes. Cambridge Checkpoint is an assessment of performance while also giving learners the experience of taking an external assessment, as the test is marked by Cambridge. Cambridge Checkpoint and Progression Tests provide a rigorous, standardised performance analysis of individual primary and lower secondary learners. Cambridge Progression Tests are internal assessments designed for use in the classroom and cover English as a first or second language, maths and science.

Comparing test results to better understand student performance

“We are looking to marry up the results of the Cambridge Checkpoint tests with those of the MidYIS baseline assessments to provide a more rounded picture of individual students predicted and actual performances, and help us best understand how to support those students moving forward.

“We then compare the two results to identify which learners are underachieving, achieving as expected or achieving better than expected. Plotting the MidYIS Mathematics score against the Checkpoint Mathematics Score, for example, helps to identify these different groups of learners.”


Analysing the results – an example

MidYIS scores over 120 identify students in the top 10 percent of all international students that have taken that assessment. A score of 100 is the median (middle) score. A typical student scores between 85 and 115 – the yellow band on the graph below. The horizontal, coloured bands on the graph below refer to the new five performance bands in Cambridge Checkpoint.

Checkpoint performance band Checkpoint performance band descriptor
Basic Learners have generally shown a basic level of achievement. Whilst demonstrating a limited level of understanding, knowledge and skills of the curriculum content, they would benefit from a focus on all areas of the curriculum they found challenging.
Aspiring Learners may show aspects of Basic performance and Good performance.
Good Learners have generally shown a good level of achievement. They have demonstrated a secure level of understanding, knowledge and skills of most of the curriculum content, but would benefit from a focus on the specific areas of the curriculum identified.
High Learners may show aspects of Good performance and Outstanding performance.
Outstanding Learners have generally shown an outstanding level of achievement. They have demonstrated a comprehensive level of understanding, knowledge, and skills of the curriculum content, and should be very well prepared for the next stage of learning.

MidYIS Maths Score vs Checkpoint Maths Score

graph-checkpoint-scoresThe blue dots represent the students by plotting their MidYIS Mathematics score either taken in Year 7 or Year 8 against their Cambridge Checkpoint Mathematics score taken in Year 9.

David has used the scatter plots to look at general trends and has identified the students who fall outside this general trend (the outliers). For example, there is one student (student A) that lies within the yellow MidYIS band showing typical mathematics potential, however this student demonstrated lower achievement in the Checkpoint Mathematics test.

As these are snapshot assessments, further investigation is needed as to why student A looks like they have underperformed in their Checkpoint Mathematics assessment as there are many factors that can affect a student’s performance on the day that they take an assessment.

The school then looks at possible intervention strategies.

Group Strategies
Higher potential,
higher achievement
Stretch and challenge activities.
Higher potential,
lower achievement

Identify the possible reasons for the lower achievement.

What are the learners’ barriers to learning? Provide support for gaps in knowledge and ways to address any of the barriers to learning.

Lower potential,
higher achievement
Praise the learner, identify if CEM score for lower potential is accurate, support and target with stretch activities.

Looking ahead

“The plan is to do baseline assessments with Years 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 in the first half term of the academic year.” David explains. “We’d intend Cambridge International AS & A Level and Cambridge IGCSE learners to complete Alis and Yellis baseline assessments in the first month, with younger students taking MidYIS and the new Cambridge Primary Insight baseline assessments in October.

“We would then hold Cambridge Checkpoint tests with Years 6 and 9 in April, and Cambridge Progression Tests for Years 4–9 as end of year exams in June. Year 6 and Year 9 will still take progression tests so that the school can compare their progression test and Checkpoint results as a further Quality Assurance process.

“The change in scoring of Checkpoint and Progression tests clarifying reporting to parents and other staff as well as in tracking progress. Analysis of the Progression Tests provide objectivity and the ability to compare students both internally and externally with other Cambridge schools.

“Learner underperformance may not just be about curriculum coverage. There are several contributing factors including the parental engagement, the learning environment and the wellbeing of the student.”


What are the next steps for The New English School?

  • Share the data in its usable form with teachers
  • Plan, implement and measure the success of interventions
  • Develop short-term teaching targets
  • Focus resource allocation to areas of need


  • Adaptive teaching
  • Support parent/learner conversations
  • Identify best practice in the classroom and share it
  • Provide Continuing Professional Enhancement



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