League Tables

March 17

Q. My son has been allocated a place at a School which we thought was doing well. However, in the current league tables the school got 0.18 on ‘Progress 8.’ I do not understand how this works. The figure seems low but the outcome seems positive. Can you please explain this? 

Progress 8 (along with Attainment 8) is the new benchmark by which schools will be measured going forward. Progress 8 is a ‘value added’ measurement, which means that it looks at the progress of pupils from the end of primary school (Year 6) to the end of secondary school (Year 11). ‘Value added’ means how much extra value the school adds to a pupil taking into consideration that pupil’s starting point. For example, if a pupil is predicted a particular grade at Year 11 but performs better than expected, the school is seen to have added value. In order to calculate progress 8, each pupil is placed in a prior attainment group, dependent upon their attainment at the end of year 6. 

Attainment 8 is a measure calculated against an individual pupil’s grades across 8 subjects, which must include maths and English (both of which receive double points because of their importance), 3 further Ebacc subjects and 3 further qualifications including Ebacc subjects and non-GCSE subjects if previously approved by the DfE. Each grade has a points’ value and the points for the 8 subjects are added together for each pupil to achieve an Attainment 8 score. 

Once Attainment 8 has been calculated for each pupil, a Progress 8 calculation can be made. This means that an individual pupil’s Attainment 8 score is compared with those in their prior attainment group. The progress score is the difference between a pupil’s own Attainment 8 score and the average score of the prior attainment group.  On this point the DfE provides the following example:

“If David, for example, achieved an Attainment 8 score of 56 and the average Attainment 8 score for his prior attainment group was 55 - his progress score would be +1. We divide +1 by 10 to give an individual pupil’s Progress 8 score, which is in this example is 0.1” [sic] 

In order to find a school’s Progress 8 score, the progress scores for all pupils in Year 11 are added together and divided by the number of pupils to give an average.

What does this mean for your son? You say that your son’s school achieved a Progress 8 score of 0.18. This is a positive score, which is good. This means that pupils at this school generally do better by Year 11 than those nationally with a similar prior attainment at primary school. If the school’s Progress 8 score was at 0, the pupil’s at the school generally perform as expected against those nationally with a similar prior attainment at primary school. If a School has a negative Progress 8 score, the pupils at the school generally perform below expectation for their prior attainment group.


At the time of writing this matter has been listed to be heard before the Supreme Court. Subject to judgment being handed down before publication, an update will follow in the next issue of Salad Days.




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