Progress 8 is a new school performance measure introduced by the DfE and introduced in 2016 in all schools. Following the reforms to GCSE and performance measures brought in after the Wolfe review, schools will also be scored on Progress 8 using their 2016 exam results. The details for progress 8 are still emerging through DfE sessions and through the gov.uk website. What follows is my best guess as to what the progress 8 and attainment questions will be in my department.
You can opt in early and use the 2015 results if you want.
The DfE has designated 8 subjects which count towards this measure of progress, hence the name.
As English and Maths count double, there are really 10 scoring opportunities.
Hiding in the skirts of Progress 8 there are also 3 other measures of performance.
Attainment 8 or A8 which is the average (mean) achievement in the P8 subjects.
Percentage of pupils getting a C grade (or new equivalent) or better in Maths andEnglish (‘lang’ or ‘lit’).
The EBacc score, the percentage of pupils gaining ‘good grades’ in the academic subjects (and there is more to follow on in this one).
So, that’s the tyres kicked, what happens under the hood? What if a student only sits seven GCSEs? Or only seven of the exams they sit are in the P8 list? Well, they get zero for any unfilled slots. The mean is thus reduced, and so is the P8.
Since the execution of the new programme is in the detail, and we are all trying to find out the ‘what ifs’ and ‘what abouts’, here are some of the small print headlines:
If you sit English ‘lang’ and ‘lit’ then the higher the score is the double weighted score and the other, can count as an open group subject.
So what about Maths, stats and linked pair then?
Well, as of September 2014, with linked pair you add the grades together (not best grade doubled like in English).
GCSE maths and other maths qualifications that currently count in the EBacc will count for Progress 8 in 2016 but only the new GCSE maths will count in 2017.
GCSE Statistics cannot count as the double weighted maths measure but can be counted as a GCSE in the open group.
And what do points make? A* = 9, A= 8, B= 7 etc down to G worth 1
The A8 is therefore (the sum of the P8 subjects points) /10
And once you have the A8, you can then see what the prior attainment is and calculate the P8 from there.
So that’s easy: 8 subjects, 2 double weighted, scored 0 to 9.
Unless you do free standing Maths qualification, which are worth less and you need a different conversion chart, the latest scores on the doors are here via the DfE
However if you are doing AS Maths early in your GCSE year, and you get an A in AS, you can get 9.5 points, 8.25 for a B. It looks like you get the AS grade over the GCSE grade even if there are fewer points for it.
So if you believe that Maths and English are fundamental and should be more important than other subjects then A8 does do that.
If you think schools should be judged on the value they add more transparently, then P8 might just do that. It might be the first real opportunity to get away from focussing on the C/D border and refocus on individual student progress. But we will spend the next 2 years looking at the details and working out if students do AS first, then GCSE second. Or what if they take only one language and creative craft. studies? What will that do to the A8 algorithm?
I think this is a move in the right direction, but hope it is only the start of the debate into what we measure to show the value of student achievement.
I hope that we stop looking so hard at cohort level measures P and A, and use it as a catalyst to debate what is best for our students.