Posted by: mrlock | March 4, 2015

Updated Progress 8 guidance (Feb 2015)

It’s worth reading the background to this in a previous blog I wrote here. This broadly stands, and I won’t be repeating the detail here.

A week ago, the DFE published some new guidance. Not much has changed. From my understanding, the following aspects are additional or changes:

This explicitly says that Progress 8 will be the headline measure from 2017. Previously, there were 4 indicators, and though the indication was that Progress 8 would be important, this is now confirmed as the measure. The other 3 (attainment 8, percentage achieving grade C in both English and maths, and percentage achieving the English Baccalaureate) will continue to be published.

There is another fifth measure to be published. In this guide it’s intended. This is:

the percentage of pupils who went on to sustained education, employment or training during the year after they finished their Key Stage 4 qualifications

“Expected progress” as a measure will not exist from 2016.

It is confirmed that a Progress 8 score of -0.5 or below will indicate a school is below the floor standard.

It is back on the table that a Progress 8 score of 1.0 or more will mean a school is exempt from OFSTED. I was under the impression this would be up to OFSTED, but this is explicitly stated in this document.

Mathematics – If a pupil takes two maths qualifications that count (for example GCSE maths and AQA Cert in further maths), the first achieving qualification counts double. The other one does not count at all in Progress 8. If the two maths qualifications are linked (e.g. Methods in Mathematics and Applications of Mathematics) these both count in the double slot – the results are added together).

This is a bit complicated, because of discount codes (please note this is an example of technical jargon that school leaders have to become familiar with if they are not already) and so on, so if your school does more than one maths qualification, please check. However, if the two qualifications share a discount code (eg they have taken 2 GCSEs in mathematics) then the first entry rule applies as above.  The ‘better result’ rule applies where the two qualifications do not discount as in the example given of maths and further maths.  Even though they do not discount only one of them will be recognised.

My understanding is that GCSE Statistics, for the purposes of the above qualifications, is not a ‘maths qualification’ – ie it wouldn’t count in the top basket as double. It therefore does count in the open basket.

English is as per my previous blog. Briefly, the best of English or English Literature counts double assuming the pupil has taken both English and English Literature. The other one can count in the open slots for Progress 8.

AS qualifications can count in the appropriate slots.

From 2016, GCSE grades will count for the following points:

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 20.33.57

This is as expected.

In 2017, when in English and maths pupils can get up to grade/ number 9 but other GCSEs will still be graded in letters, the transition will be different for these other GCSEs. The value will be as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 20.41.09

Pupils with no Key Stage 2 scores will not count. This sounds like it’s not a big deal, but in my current school this would be 23% of last year’s Year 11, so schools will have to be hot on their own data if they’re in circumstances like ours (which is, to be fair, true anyway).

In 2016, the estimated grade for pupils will not be known in advance. This is because they will be compared against the same cohort. So we won’t know the average for a pupil who starts with, for example, 5.1, until all the pupils who started on 5.1 have their results.

However, from 2019, this will be known, because these will be set from the 2016 cohort. The intention is that in 2020 the expected performance for a KS2 fine points score will be set from 2017 results and so on. This allows for the possibility of an improving system.

The guide ‘expires’ in March 2016 for the 2018 results so much of the above is intentional. I’m sure the detail will change. Have a read of the DFE document if you need more specifics.



  1. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.


  2. Interesting post. I think you are wrong on the maths point: despite earlier suggestions that maths and stats would discount each other or the latter would not count in P8 and A8, I’ve checked with the DfE and stats will count in one of the open slots.


    • Yes, I’ll clarify.


    • The paragraph about maths qualifications was referring to qualifications which, on their own, would count double. Statistics is not one of these, so as you say, it counts in the open basket. If clarified (though I actually think the words I’ve used add confusion).


  3. Please clarify the position of Additional Science in the EBacc slot . Would this count without Core science as a stand alone subject? If not, why??


    • I see nothing in the guidance to suggest it wouldn’t. I know that Further Additional Science doesn’t count in the Ebacc slots at all – but very few schools do that.


  4. […] Please see the updated guidance here. […]


  5. […] Stuart Lock […]


  6. So in 2016 (Maths and English) – 8 and 9 are equivalent to an A*?


    • No, in 2016, an A* in maths is worth 8. The year after, in maths you can get an 8 or a 9. In other subjects where they are still letters for grades an A* will be worth 8.5. In 2018 many more subjects will be assessed with numbers.


  7. When you say the year after, do you mean, the cohort that will take their GCSEs in 2017? The first cohort that will have 1-9. It doesn’t really matter about the group taking their GCSEs in 2016 because they will still be graded A*-G. But you will need their point scores for Progress 8 and Attainment 8.


    • Yes, 2017 will only be graded 1-9 in maths and English


  8. We are looking for a simple display to track the progress of our year 11s next year to make sure we are working with the correct groups of students. This will be put up in the head’s office and the students will be moved around the board into different groups depending on their latest results. This worked for us this year as it was very visual. Does anybody have any ideas about how this could look for progress 8. The best thing I have come up with is a long line of students sorted by the overall current progress 8 score.


  9. Does the second English grade have to be used in the open basket for the highest one to count double?


    • No. They just have to take them both.


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