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GCSE results: Why schools could be in the dark about their performance on Progress 8 for months

The implications of results day for schools will not become clear until autumn

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The implications of results day for schools will not become clear until autumn

Schools will not have a clear understanding of their performance in this year’s GCSEs under new accountability measures until new data from the Department for Education is released this autumn.

In previous years, schools could tell on results day whether they were at risk of government intervention – by calculating the proportion of their pupils that achieved five GCSEs at grade A* to C, including English and maths. But in 2016, heads' leaders fear that schools could be left in the dark for months and may be unaware of their fate as late as November.

That is because this year, for the first time, schools will be held to account using the Progress 8 accountability measure, a complex statistical calculation that tracks whether a pupil collecting their GCSE results has made the same amount of progress, more progress or less progress than pupils who achieved the same results as them aged 11.

The Progress 8 measure takes longer to calculate than the previous measure, because it requires the government to collect and process data from schools across the country to calculate average progress. The Department for Education expects this data to be available in the autumn.

Schools will still be judged on a straightforward attainment measure, this time the proportion gaining a C or above in English and maths. But this is no longer a “floor standard” for intervention, meaning that in theory, the C-D borderline on which schools have targeted resources for several years is no longer as crucial as before.

See TES’ guide to how Progress 8 and Attainment 8 are calculated.

Performance measures in 2016

  • Progress 8 and Attainment 8 scores. A school will be below the floor standard – and therefore subjected to greater scrutiny and possibly academy conversion or a new academy sponsor – if its Progress 8 score is below -0.5, subject to “confidence intervals” in the data.
  • Percentage of pupils achieving a C or above in English and maths. This is not a floor standard.
  • Percentage of pupils achieving a C or above in the English Baccalaureate subjects (English, maths, science, history or geography and a language). This is not a floor standard.

Performance measures in 2017

  • Progress 8 and Attainment 8 scores. Again, these will be floor standards.
  • Percentage of pupils achieving a 5 or above in English and maths. This is not a floor standard.
  • Percentage of pupils achieving a 5 or above in the English Baccalaureate subjects (English, maths, science, history or geography and a language). This is not a floor standard.

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