Putting everything in context
As an individual student, you receive grades for the subjects you take – simple. As a school you’re assigned a huge number of metrics to evaluate each student’s contextual attainment. Labour’s Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) published around 60 metrics in the annual KS2, KS4 and KS5 data files. Now though, the Department for Education (DfE) KS4 file alone contains almost 400 columns of data for each school. While this wealth of information enables you to be very specific in your segmented marketing campaigns, there is a lot of information to assimilate and prioritise.
Forget your ABC…
England’s exam grading system could become farcical if we were to continue adding stars to A grades so with the new curriculum came new grades. From the English and Maths exams of summer 2017, A*-G grades were replaced with grades 1-9 where grade 9 is the highest. To offer a loose comparison, a Grade 4 ‘standard pass’ is the equivalent of a low C grade, a Grade 5 ‘strong/good pass’ is a high C and a 7 is approximate to an A. All other subjects moved to the new numbered grades by the summer of 2019.
Do you know your Progress 8 from your Attainment 8?
Previously, the headline statistic upon which schools were measured was 5ACEM – the percentage of students achieving five A*-C grades including English and Maths. However, some believed that schools could game the system and so a new broad and balanced curriculum and qualification system that assessed students across eight subjects was announced in 2013. Some pupils may be able to achieve a GCSE Grade 9 in Year 7 while others will struggle to achieve a Grade 4 in Year 11. Therefore, rather than focusing on attainment alone, new measures would focus on the progress that schools support pupils in making.
What performance information is available?
As we mentioned above, England’s DfE publishes almost every statistic you could require, but the other education departments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not so detailed in their data releases. Currently, we import all available performance data for schools in England and Scotland, plus Welsh secondary school bands.
From 2016, the headline performance measures in the English schools annual datasets are
- English Baccalaureate (EBacc) entries
- EBacc achievements
- Percentage of pupils achieving a good pass (grade 5)
- Attainment 8 score
- Progress 8 score
Data for schools in Scotland includes:
- Percentage of pupils at S4, S5 and S6 achieving associated levels
Data for secondary schools in Wales includes:
- School Band where Band 1 contains the top 20% of secondary schools & Band 5 the lowest 20%
- Percentage of EAL pupils “less than competent” in English