League tables for 14-year-olds are to include an extra measure of school achievement from next year.
The key stage 3 tables will set out the proportion of pupils achieving at least level 6 in English, maths and science. Level 5 is the expected grade at this level.
Results from this summer's tests will feature in the first of the new-style tables, to be published next spring.
The Government wants to step up pressure on secondaries to help bright pupils fulfill their potential.
The Department for Education and Skills said: "Good KS3 results are the foundation on which good GCSEs are built. The Secretary of State has therefore decided to show how schools have succeeded in helping pupils attain results beyond the level expected at KS3.
"This will support his commitment to see an increase in the number of young people achieving good GCSE results in English, mathematics and science."
The DfES announcement confirmed that from next year a new indicator, the proportion of pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades including English and maths, will be the "gold standard" measure used.
Other new indicators will state the proportion of pupils achieving English and maths at level 1 or 2 - either through GCSEs or through key and basic skills.
Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said the changes in KS3 would "pile on the misery" for schools, particularly in disadvantaged areas with low raw scores.
She said: "Rather than investing significant resources in stratifying our schools, and putting them in ever more complex league tables, the Government should be supporting schools in our most challenging areas.
"We know that in our society, the most able children succeed. Where we fail is having a long tail of underachievement. Going into ever more detail on the performance of pupils at higher levels is not going to help."