Messages Behind The Measures


For those people in education like me who are surrounded by data the terms closing the gap, levels progress and Level 3 Value added and so on, are common words and understood. I feel for those people ie governors, parents, NQT’s who get these terms thrown at them and probably feel like a student in a classroom too scared to ask what do they actually mean?

Some people have real barriers to data as discussed in a previous post “Data Another Brick in The Wall” this could because of the lack of information or discussion with teachers/governors concerning the meaning behind all the numerous performance measures within education. I imagine understanding what levels progress means or value added isn’t high on a list when training teachers and is highly unlikely to be explained in much depth to governors. Due to this gap in understanding I have produced a short concise hand-out summarising some of the key performance measures at KS5, KS4 and KS3.

For the handout just click : Messages behind the measures

Please see a snapshot of the handout below. To open/save a PDF copy just click above on the red text.


If you feel anything has been missed off or have any feedback, please feel free to leave some feedback.

Thanks for taking your time to read.


It’s not the journey, its the destination that counts


Journey through the centre of education

During my time in education the term journey is one that I have heard and used numerous times. The term is used to describe a student’s passage through a school and the various key stages. It gives the sense that the student is on a quest of development as their year’s progress.

A student’s journey is one that has been assessed and contemplated many a time within schools and by Ofsted. The term is mainly used in comparing students’ progress and attainment from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 and then finally at Key Stage 4. Especially at Key Stage 4 it’s difficult to evaluate the journey made from KS3, due to progress not being as linear as in KS3.  To judge a student’s progress through secondary school is essential to judge the success of the various key stages schemes of work and the consistency of teaching.

Schools have been analysed and evaluated against the general trajectory of student’s journeys by key stakeholders such as local authorities and governors for many years. Also Ofsted have evaluated students’ progress over the key stages alongside results to form their judgements. However it seems with the various educational changes that the journey will become less important in analysing the effectiveness and success of a school. Judgments of schools will focus on solely the destination, the result of the journey not the points along it




Mr Gove has kept everyone in the educational sector “busy” with the abundance of changes announced in the last couple of years. He stated one of his key visions was to get away from the notion that schools have become exam factories that solely focus on grades and not the breath and understanding of learning. However I feel some of the changes have gone against his vision and will simply dilute the focus on the key points along a student’s progression through school and only add to the estimation of where that student will be when they take their exam.  In a way some of the changes will simply grease the examination factory cogs.

Below I have stated some of the changes which will take away from a student’s journey and will mean their destination is at the core of their learning and assessment.

Removal of Levels – With the scrapping of levels schools will likely try to develop assessment grading scales that directly flow from KS3-4. Obviously with the removal of levels this takes away the requirement for schools to inform local authorities concerning KS3 figures. So there will be no national data from when a student’s sits their KS2 to KS4 exams.

Also the changes to scaled scores at KS2 will lead to an uncertainty of where a student will sit when they enter at KS3 and how the two key stages link. The change will take the focus off KS3 as such in terms of points progress currently from KS2 and will likely again provide just assessment points with the end point of Y11 in mind, even in Y7/8. Having the difference of KS3 levels and KS4 grades ensured there was a separation in dialogue and context however this will be a thing of the past.

Dilution of KS2/3 Curriculum –Due to not being a teacher myself and having an in-depth knowledge of the new KS3 and 4 national curriculums I cannot go into great detail. However colleagues have informed me the new KS3 national curriculums are very brief and simply act as guides always with the aim of on content and link to the KS4 national curriculum.

More Info

Changes to Ofsted Teacher observations – With the stance taken from Ofsted on grading observations and the perception of no one teaching style being the correct one, even more emphasis is put on schools previous results and the insights formed from Raiseonline.  The stance seems to have taken the pressure off school staff during the inspection process in a way (repeat in a way!). It seems some of the emphasis has been taken off the lessons observed and more on the success of results. If a schools results show attainment and progress far exceeding national and the teaching shows students progressing and learning in whatever style, the judgment should be the one desired. Again this stance takes away from the evaluation of a journey and takes the sole lead from results.

More info

Progress 8Due to the main performance measures relying on 8 subjects from 2016 I have met with some schools who have stated they possibly will enrol students for simply 8 subjects. Students will enter in Y7 and study the same 8 subjects throughout their time in the school. Not a strategy I agree with myself as students aren’t treated as individuals in terms of their interests or needs but I have heard this mentioned.

The links to KS5 – Again with a shift in the last couple of years to the Level 3 Value added report being the main benchmark for Ofsted to judge the quality and performance of a 6th form, more emphasis is put on both KS4/5 results. Previously with KS5 results being standalone ie %  A Level A*-B not being linked to progress from a student’s KS4 results. The possible two result windows of student’s secondary lifespan are now a reflection of KS5 judgment.

Is your destination the one mapped out?

With such importance on simply results figures, schools need to assess and evaluate how they track cohorts and the gaps within them.  For example how secure would you say your school is with the predictions/estimates staff currently gives for student’s likely performance at KS4/5?  Secondary education is aimed to provide a platform to allow students to progress through the stages of learning, ensuring you have effective system/tools and more importantly people will result in the destination being the one desired.

Thank you for reading

Please leave your thoughts you may agree/disagree or just critique my KS3 writing style all are welcome.

New KS4/5 Subject Timeline – Updated June 14


Previously I have focused  on the upcoming changes to the performance tables at click to read KS2,4 & 5.

This time I thought I would try to produce a concise summary of the changes relating to subjects at KS4/5 in the next few years.

The table is aimed to be brief and interactive with lots of hyperlinks to give more specific information where required. Anything that is in BLUE has a hyperlink attached to it to provide more depth.

If you would like the table in word to print out or amend just click here

Key Stage/


Subjects Subject Assessment Changes Performance Table Changes


Phase 1


Sept 2015 – 16

English Lang, English Lit, Maths English Language (Click here for more info)

  • Students can’t sit the combined English option, only English Language/Lit can be sat.
  • There will be no tiering.
  • All assessments apart from speaking and listening will be taken in the form of a written exam; the total assessment time should be no less than 3.5 hrs.
  • Students will need to the demonstrate presentation skills and speaking/listening skills in a formal environment, however this will not contribute to the overall grade and will be reported separately.

English Literature (Click here for more info)

  • No tiering.
  • All assessments to be written exams, the total assessments should be no less in total than 3.5hrs.

Maths (Click here for more info)

  • There will still be tiers with overlapping content.
  • All assessments to be written exams again with a minimum total assessment time of 3.5hrs.
Further details of all the key stage performance table changes can be foundhere.

  • Progress 8 – Various subject specific slots ie (3 Ebacc subject slots) also 3 vocational subjects can be used.
  • Attainment 8 – 8 best subjects will provide the average grades of cohorts/students.
  • New GCSE numerical grading system 8-1.
A Level


Phase 1


Sept 2015 – 16



English Lang/Lit, Sciences,

History, Art, Business, Economics, Computing Sociology, Psychology


A Level Reform (Click here for more general info)  (Click here subject content info)

  • AS/A Level decoupled – separate qualifications as such but content does overlap so can be taught together in Y12. If a student sat the AS marks will not carry over but the student can carry onto A2.
  • All examinations to be taken at the end of the course.
  • Aimed to have more academic content and rigour with more of a focus on numeracy.

English Lang/Lit (Click here for more info)

  • Assessment – Exams 80%, Non- exam assessment 20%

Sciences (Click here for more info)

  • Assessment – Exams 100%, separate assessment for practical skills.  Students will either pass or fail the practical assessment.

Art & Design (Click here for more info)

  • Assessment – Non-exams assessment 100%, 40% is allocated to tasks by the exam board and completed in a specific time.

Business Studies (Click here for more info)

  • Assessment – 100% exams

Computer Science (Click here for more info)

  • Assessment – 100% exams

Economics (Click here for more info)

  • Assessment – 100% exams

History (Click here for more info)

  • Assessment – 80% exams, 20% Non-exam assessment

Psychology (No online content at the moment)

  • Assessment – 100% exams

Sociology (Click here for more info)

  • Assessment – 100% exams
  • New set of headline performance measures – L3 VA, Average Attainment, English and Maths GCSE pass, Retention %, Destinations%.
  • Also schools will be judged on additional performance measures which focus on the split of qualifications students take ie Tech bacc, closing the gap etc.
  • New minimum standards in place.
  • Revised QCDA points scores.

Sept 2016 – 17


Phase 2

Geography, History, Sciences, MFL, RE, D&T, Art, Drama, Music, PE, Computer Science, Citizenship All other GCSE Subject (Click here for more General info)(Click here for subject content info)

  • Geography– Untiered , exam only assessment, school must confirm to exam board that two pieces of fieldwork must be completed, fieldwork skills to be assessed in exam, 5% of marks awarded on SPAG.
  • HistoryUntiered, assessed entirely by exam, 5% of marks awarded on SPAG.
  • Sciences Science GCSE’s will be tiered with foundation students able to achieve grades 5-1 and Higher 9-4. Exams will constitute 90% of the marks and practical assessments the remaining 10%, however this is still under consideration due to the low practical input.
  • MFLContent and assessment arrangements are still under consultation but there will be the same focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • RE, D&T, Art, Drama, Music, PE, Computer Science, Citizenship – Consultations for these specific subjects is to start this summer on the content/assessment arrangements.
  • Numerical grading system will become 9-1 due to new GCSE’s.
  • Schools should be aware in advance about the results each pupil will require to achieve a positive progress 8 score.
A Level

Sept 2016 – 17


Phase 2

Maths, MFL RE, D&T, Geog, Drama, Music, PE For more info on the consultation and proposals click here

  • Currently the DFE and Ofqual are in consultation about the subject content/assessment of the subjects listed to the left.
  • Performance measures will take into account substantial L2 qualifications.
  • L3 Maths measure
GCSE/A Level



Phase 3

Remaining subjects For more info on the consultation and the full list of discontinuing subjects click here

  • Ofqual are proposing that all GCSES/A Levels from 2017 will be new qualifications; if any subject isn’t replaced they will be removed.  This stance if necessary will be reconsidered in 2016.
  • Various GCSE, AS, A Level subjects are to be discontinued due to their overlapping nature with other subjects.
  • Various GCSE subjects proposed to be discontinued include : Home Economics, Additional Applied Science, Humanities, Catering, Expressive Arts, Performing Arts
  • Various AS/ A Level subjects proposed to be discontinued include : Applied Business,  Economics & Business,  Human Biology, Environmental Studies, Applied Science.
  • The consultation also outlines proposals for some subjects to be reformed for teaching from 2017.
  • GCSE subjects proposed to be reformed include: Media Studies, Statistics ICT, BCS, Business St, Sociology, Psychology, and Health & Social Care.
  • AS/A Level subjects proposed to be reformed include: Media Studies, ICT, Law, Health & Social Care, Critical Thinking, and Accounting.

Visual Timetable for New Reformed Qualifications

This is a visual which shows the first teaching of the New GCSE/A Level qualifications.

Visual Timetable of reform

Other considerations                                                    

  • New KS3 national curriculum
  • 2015/16 (Y10) will be the first year for the new GCSE performance tables ie Progress 8
  • 2015/16 (Y12) will be the first year for the new A Level performance tables

Issues for your School?                                                                                                                                      

  • Do you have a  3 year KS4? the first teaching of the GCSE subjects will be before the new specs are out eg: Y9 (14/15)) in English and Maths. This is also the case with History/Geog/Sci in Y9 2015/16 (next year Y8).
  • Do you bank subjects early in Y10 to alleviate the load on students? will an unreformed Art GCSE qualification banked at the end of Y10 in summer 2017 count in the 2018 performance tables when the next Art qualification is available?

Thanks for reading.

Summary Report of KS2,4 & 5 2016 Changes


 Over 100 DFE Pages Summarised into 8

In my last few posts I have tried to summarise the recent accountability and assessment changes at KS2,4 and 5. All the pieces can be found individually on the left hand side of the site.

I have compiled all three into a short booklet that cuts down over 100 pages into 8. I have uploaded the booklet below in Word, so its possible to add notes/ next steps you feel are applicable for your organisation. Just click on the underlined link below and it should download.

KS2-5 Assessment & Accountability Measures Booklet

In the individual posts I have stated some key considerations and possible next steps for schools at each key stage. Obviously with the number of changes and links between key stages there are numerous linking considerations that schools need to consider. Here are some below:

  • All key stage floor standards and judgement’s will be mainly based around progress – is your target setting systems for each key stage appropriate for your students/school to achieve above the expected national?
  • The changes increase the importance and accountability of all grades not just the borderline grades between threshold measures – is there suitable professionals/systems within your school that track and focus intervention on key cohorts? Going forward the classic key group of C/D borderline students won’t be the key group, all students will be possible gains/losses concerning the performance measures.
  • Some of the new key stage measures can’t really be judged or tracked accurately at the moment due to not having the specific details or national data sets – Currently its not possible to accurately track all the future performance measures at KS2/4. In terms of KS2 its a waiting game till the DFE give more details of the progress measure that will judge progress from the new reception baseline. Also more details need to given at a subject level for the scaled scores which will be given to students/parents. In terms of KS4 its the same due to the national expected grades for progress 8 not being judged till 2016. Schools can use the updated national transition matrices from Raiseonline (link to the library if you just click on Raiseonline) to judge roughly what the expected grade could be but its not exact. Also last week FFT produced individual reports for schools to gauge where they would fit with the performance tables in 2016, this can be found here.
  • Key to work with feeder schools more to form a conveyor belt in terms of practices and understanding concerning the curriculum and assessment – With the increased importance of progress schools need to work closely with their feeders to understand how students attainment/progress can be improved/acted upon from an earlier point. With the curriculum becoming supposedly more “academic” at all levels, teaching needs to reflect this at an early age. Also with the scrapping of levels to ensure the transition from primary to secondary is seamless, there needs to be an agreed approach within areas so staff/parents/students can easily understand the transition between key stages. Also not just between schools but between key stages if you have a sixth form due to progress being judged from KS4.

I am sure there are more points/issues that need to be considered, please add your thoughts and comments below on what schools need to consider and act upon.

Thanks for reading, please follow me on twitter for regular updates or follow the blog to receive posts by email on the left side of the site.



KS5 2016 Assessment & Accountability Reform Summary


2016 is going to be a testing year with KS2/4 and 5 changes. I have previously posted about the KS2/4 changes and have tried to summarise the lengthy DFE documents into bite size manageable updates. Here is my KS5 effort:

Offical report link :

Principle behind the changes: To introduce more rigorous minimum standards for schools and to ensure that results are presented in a clear and comprehensive way so students/parents/external stakeholders can hold schools/colleges to account.

Performance Measures – The new performance measures will be split into two sections with there being headline performance measures and a separate group of other additional measures. There will also be underlying data on an online portal which will allow educational stakeholders to explore the performance of schools in greater detail. The portal will be in place from 2015.

Headline Performance Measures

  • L3 VA to highlight the progress of all students in all subjects. This will act as the main basis for setting new minimum standards for schools to be above. For any student that fails to complete a course 0 points will be awarded, to reduce the temptation for schools to withdraw weaker students from exams.   The value added progress model measure cannot be used for L3 tech levels and substantial voc qualifications at L2. This is due to the weak relationship between how well students perform in academic subjects at KS4 and how that performance links to the performance in L3 tech levels.  The feasibility of a value added for tech levels will be reassessed in 2018, once outcomes are graded.
  • Attainment – An average of students, subjects, qualifications and overall schools attainment grades will need to be calculated and presented in the form of a grade ie Academic qualifications C-, Vocational qualifications M+.
  • English and Maths GCSE – The measure supports the requirement for students who didn’t achieve at least a C grade at GCSE at the end of KS4 to continue their study in English/Maths. The measure will also take into account those students who improved upon their KS4 English/Maths grade ie the score would be 1 for a student if they achieved a E in KS4 then a D in Y12. The schools average is then calculated to show the difference in grades in English/Maths from when in KS4 to 5.
  • Retention – The measure has been renamed from completion to retention to show the proportion of students who are retained by a provider and complete their programmes of study. Students will still have a 6 week period in which they can change their mind on which subjects/qualifications they can continue forward with to count in the measure.
  • Destinations – This measure will show the % of students who progress onto employment, training or further education. There will be greater detail in terms of those students who carry onto further education with details of which particular group of universities students have gone onto, this will be published at LA level too.

ks5 website

Example how the measures should look on a school website.

Additional Measures

Attainments in quals below L3 – The DFE wants to document all attainment in 16-19 education including any subjects that are taken below L3. However the actual specifics are still to be determined but the focus is on Maths/English GCSE post KS4 initially.Additional Measures

  • Achieving at a higher level of learning – To encourage schools to focus on all students and their progress no matter their ability, there will be a measure to highlight the% of students that improve upon their KS4 grade in the same subject. Obviously this measure is aimed at students where L3 isn’t deemed to be appropriate. If a student moved from academic L2 quals to a substantial L2 vocational course this would be deemed as progress too, due to its different requirements.
  •  A Level Attainment – Similar to the attainment figure in the headline measure apart from focusing solely on students A Level performance. The measure will be based on the student’s best 3 A Levels grades.
  • AAB in facilitating subjects – Still going to be a key measure but will now only focus on 2 of the three subjects being a facilitating subject.
  • Attainment of an approved L3 Maths qual – The measure will show the % proportion of those students who achieved an A*-C at KS4 and have gone onto study an approved L3 Maths qualification. More guidance will be issued on the approved list. The ambition of the DFE is for the majority of students to study maths to the age of 18 by 2020.
  • Tech Bacc - The measure will show the number of students within a school who achieve the Technical Baccalaureate. More details concerning the Tech Bacc measure can be found here
  • Substantial Voc Quals at L2 – This measure will show the proportion of students whose highest study aim is a L2 approved vocational subject.  Apart from those subjects on the list the only approved L2 subjects that will count in the performance measures will be GCSE English/Maths.  A list of approved vocational subjects will be published nearer the time with some courses being redesigned to the similar principles of the Tech Levels ie employer recognition, grading and external assessment.
  • Traineeships –Details to be finalised but will show proportion and positives of students carrying out traineeships.
  • Supported Internships – Will show how effectively providers support their students to complete supported internships.
  • Closing the gap measure – Again the specific details haven’t been finalised but the DFE want to detail how disadvantaged students (those who are in receipt of PP in Y11) attainment and progress compares in line with the headline measures.

Minimum Standards

  • The new standards will replace the current interim standards from 2016 (current interim standards
  • Schools will be expected to strive to exceed the standards with the DFE having the authority on which schools to seek action against, if their performance falls below the floor standard.
  • Minimum standards will be set separately for academic, Applied General, Tech Levels and for substantial vocational quals at L2 (starting in 2017).
  • Students will be exempt from the retention and attainment minimum standards if they leave early to take up an apprenticeship, traineeship or supported internship.  As mentioned students also still have the 6 week grace period to change courses so they don’t affect the retention figure.
  • Details of the specific levels at which the standards will be set will be provide in 2015.

Revised Points Scores

  • A new point’s score rating will underpin the calculation of the majority of measures within the performance tables.
  • The QCDA points will be lowered when assigning the points to a grade as shown below.
  • The new scores will remove the huge difference between a pass/fail, this will lessen the impact of single student having a disproportionate impact upon a schools headline measures.

ks5 points

Next Steps

  • The changes relating to KS4 English/Maths relates to current Y11’s and enhances the importance of the measure to all students not just the C/D borderline students when carrying out their studies in the subject post KS4.
  • The paper doesn’t mention about counting the 1st entry so there needs to be clarification due to the possibility of a student sitting either Englis/Maths 4 times during (Nov/June) during KS5.
  • Ascertain if funding is linked to subjects that appear on the approved vocational subjects.
  • Needs to be clarification if the KS4/5 approved vocational lists for performance tables will mirror each other? I assume they would but it doesn’t mention the issue.
  • Schools will have to be very mindful of their students KS4 performance and consider which students are suitable for which type of courses, due to the main headline measure being against performance in KS4 ie a specific cut off for students to sit academic or vocational qualifications.

Thanks for taking the time to read. As mentioned I have done similar reviews of KS2/4 changes which can be found on the left hand side of the page.



KS2 2016 Assessment & Accountability Summary


Reform of Primary Assessment and Accountability

DFE Link :

I have decided to try and save people reading the copious pages of the recent DFE KS2 consultation findings in terms of accountability and assessment.

Summary of reforms

  • To introduce more challenging tests and report a scaled score at the end of key stages rather than the current levels system.
  • New curriculum detail performance descriptors will be available to inform teacher assessments at the end of key stage 1 and 2.
  • DFE want to ensure that teacher assessments are consistent across key stages with moderation.
  • A new floor standard will be introduced that will be based on progress made from a new assessment during the reception stage.

Reception Baseline

  • The reception baseline assessment can be chosen from a variety of assessment approaches but will be administered by the reception teaching staff. A list of assessments that reach the DFE approved criteria will be published in due course.
  • Schools can opt to use the reception baseline in 2015 or choose to stick to measuring progress from Key Stage 1, when they reach the end of KS2 in 2022. If a baseline is used the better of progress from baseline or KS1 will be used.
  • From 2016 progress can only be measured from reception when they reach the end of KS2, tests in KS1 will continue but won’t be used as a point to highlight progress from.

Floor Standards

  • The new floor standard will hold schools to account on progress and attainment.
  • The impending reception baseline will judge students’ progress against those at similar level when they reach the end of KS2, sufficient progress must be made in reading, writing and maths.
  • In terms of attainment schools will need to aim to have 85% of students meeting the expected standard (currently 4b) at the end of KS2.

Key Stage 1/2

  • Both testing and assessment arrangements will be more rigorous and reflect the new national curriculum with new assessments in both key stages taking place from 2016.
  • For key stage 1 new performance descriptors will be introduced in autumn 2014 to inform teacher assessments.
  • Key Stage 1 assessment/testing arrangements: teacher assessments in Maths/Reading externally set but internally marked. Externally set tests in grammar, punctuation and spelling which will inform teacher assessments in writing.
  • Key Stage 2 assessment/testing arrangements: Students will continue to sit externally set and marked tests in maths, reading and SPAG. A sample of pupils will also sit a science test to represent the national picture.
  • Also like key stage 1 new performance descriptors will be introduced with results being presented to pupils and parents as scaled scores. Each students score will be presented along with the average of their school, LA and nationally. Due to the feedback from the consultation on assessment, decile rankings will not be used.

Low Attaining Pupils

  • Any student who cannot access the relevant key stage test will continue to have their attainment assessed by teachers. P scales will be retained for teacher judgement of those students.
  • Schools will be accountable during inspection for the assessment of low attaining pupils; it will be considered whether to move to external moderation of P scales during a review of moderation across the board.

The table below provides a useful visual for all the changes.

KS2 Table

Next Steps

  • When published schools need to  review the various assessment methods for the reception baseline and try to put this in place for 2015, schools would benefit from using the baseline due to the best progress being used in 2022 from either the reception baseline or KS1.
  • Ensure your staff are up to date and planning for the new KS1/2 curriculum.
  • Also keep for for schools primary and secondary schools work together to form a seamless link in terms of assessment/curriculum to aid transition.

Thank you for reading, hopefully you found it some use.

KS4 2016 Accountability & Assessment Reform : Progress 8


2016 isn’t too far away and there is going to be massive changes to the performance tables, so I thought it would be useful to sum up the changes in under the usual DFE prescribed 10 pages!

5 Key Headline Measures

  • Progress 8 – Similar to L3 VA in terms of its calculations, students will have an expected performance grade calculated from their KS2 fine grade average. For example if a achieved an average KS2 of 5B a possible progress 8 expected grade could be a B (6 on new scaling) .  So if the student achieved an A (grade of a 7) in that subject they would have a progress score of 1. This would be added up across the 8 subjects and divided by 10 (8 subjects with Eng/Ma with double weighted) to get an average progress score. These scores will then be added up and averaged to get the schools Progress 8 score. Also subjects will have progress scores.
  • Attainment Across 8 Subjects – This indicator is simply the average grade of the cohort and will be calculated overall and for each subject/student.
  • % Achieved a C or better in English or Maths
  • Ebacc %
  • Destination measure – Showing % going onto further education, employment or training.

Floor Standards

  • The progress 8 measure will be used as the minimum floor standards requirement from 2016.
  • The target is set at if students performs half a grade on average below their expected grade across the 8 subjects then a school will be under scrutiny (ie a progress 8 score of more than -0.5).  Ie if a student entered at 4C was expected to achieve C in each of the 8 subjects but achieved 5 D’s and 3C’s, their minimum would be expected to be 4D’s and 4C’s.
  • Schools will be rewarded for excellent progress, if a schools has an average of one grade more than expected they will not be inspected by Ofsted during the next academic year, although schools can opt in if they wish to improve their Ofsted grade.

What subjects are included in the 8 Headline Measures?

  • English & Math Slots – Double weighted English element (English Language or English Lit depending on the higher, the lower is eligible for the wider subject slots depending on the grade) double weighted maths element.  Due to the double weighting English and Math provide 40% of the measure.
  • EBaccc Slots- Three slots reserved for other EBacc subjects (sciences, computer science, geography, history, languages). Two slots can be used for a combined science (double award).  More than one qualification pair can be used in each Ebacc areas ie more than one language or both History and Geog.
  • Wider Subject Slots -Three slots then can be taken up by the highest remaining point scores in a range of qualifications. They can include the remaining EBacc subjects, any other high value arts, academic, or vocational qualification or the worst of lang or lit.
  • A maximum of 3 vocational subjects can be used rather than the current limit of two.  Vocational subjects will also keep the same equivalence value ie a BTEC L2 Pass equates to a C so a 5 in the future. The DFE will produce a list of approved, high value vocational qualifications every year.
  • L2/3 Quals – If a student takes both a GCSE and AS Level in the same subject the AS level will count, no matter what grade is achieved. AS results will count for more points  than a GCSE grade in Progress 8  ie a GCSE C grade would equate to a grade of a 5, whereas if the student achieved a C in the same subject at AS  it would count for 7.

Can Less than 8 be counted in Progress 8?

Students can achieve a higher progress 8 score by sitting less than 8 subjects, as stated below in the original publication.

“We do recognise that it may not be appropriate for every pupil to take the full suite of subjects in the Progress 8 measure. Our data analysis shows that it is likely to be possible for pupils to perform well on this measure without taking the whole suite of 8 subjects. For example, pupils taking 7 qualifications counting towards the measure are able to achieve an above average score, although this might become harder over time as more pupils across the country take the full suite of 8 subjects, which will raise the Therefore, although we are encouraging schools to teach the large majority of their pupils 8 subjects, schools can still offer pupils the right curriculum for each individual and be confident that pupils’ progress will be appropriately recognised.”

The example below shows how a lower ability student could achieve a higher progress 8 score due to sitting less than 8 and using 3 vocational subjects.

less than 8

 As shown in the example above all weighted scores are / by 10 even if a student sits 6 subjects like above, so any subjects not taken are scored as 0.

Progress 8 Tracking and Monitoring

  • In 2016 schools will be unaware of a students estimated progress 8 score due to the pupil’s results being compared nationally at similar attainment levels.
  • Obviously this creates challenges in term of tracking and estimating headline performance of current Y9 year groups.
  • The DFE will be making transition matrices available later this term to allow schools to gain an indication at the average performance from KS2 in various subjects.
  • Schools will receive the 2014 results in the form of Progress 8 and Attainment 8 to gain a clearer understanding of how schools sit within the changes.
  • FFT have also been commissioned to provide information to schools about estimated future performance, more info expected later this month.

How Progress 8 will be Presented

  • Not the usual 1000 national benchmark that is used for KS4 VA.
  • Intended that it will be presented as 0.5 if half a grade below or 1.00 if a full grade above.
  • Confidence intervals will also be published to show the range of scores within which each schools true performance can be said to lie. As shown below:


  • New GCSE grading scale from 8-1 ie 8 equates to A*, however from 2017 this will increase to 9-1 when the new GCSE’s are introduced.

Website/Data Portal

Schools will have to publish the following headline measures on the website so parents can see each headline measure in a consistent format so they can compare with other schools. Also the headlines with other key indicators such as the similar schools measures will be stored and visible for the public on a new national data portal; this will be introduced in March 2015.

Advised Next Steps

  • Schools can opt in to use Progress 8 one year early in 2015, more details will be realised in the summer. Could be something to assess after receiving your results from this year in that form.
  • Analyse and compare all the national transition matrices to gain an indication of the expected performance grade and try to map for your Y9 cohort.
  • Assess possible students who would benefit from sitting less than 8 subjects.

Thanks for reading, hopefully it provided some use.