Progress points

15th June 2007 at 01:00
During a recent Ofsted inspection, a customer school of ours (we publish the Primary Progress Toolkit - software that helps with pupil tracking and performance data management) was told they should be aiming for progress of four points each year. Other customer schools have been told by local authorities that they should be aiming for two sub-levels per year, also four points. What is the basis for these demands?

Four points per year adds up to 16 points' progress over the four years between key stages 1 and 2. Yet the Department for Education and Skills says that median performance for primary pupils is expected to be level 2B at KS1 and 4B at KS2, a gain of 12 points over the four years. The National APS at KS1 in 2006 was 15.4 and 27.9 at KS2 (maintained mainstream schools), a gain of 12.5 points. Even the "national median line", KS1-KS2, 2006, which is the basis for value-added calculations, shows median average progress of 13 points and an average of only 14.8 points for the upper quartile.

So, is the demand for 16 points' progress over the four years of junior school a new "standard" being introduced quietly, without public debate about whether this is a sensible or achievable aim? Is it perhaps an "aspiration" that ignores past experience showing that unrealistic targets do nothing to improve performance; they just sap morale and bring the system into cynical disrepute. Perhaps Ofsted or the DfES can enlighten us?

Roger Watson Primary Progress Toolkit, Bishop's Stortford, Herts

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today