Blog Post

What is Progress 8 and how is it calculated?

Progress 8 is a new way of measuring secondary school performance in England. It was introduced in 2016 and it aims to capture the progress a student makes between the end of primary school and the end of secondary school.

Progress 8 scores are calculated for each individual student and then averaged across the the school to get a single Progress 8 score for the school.

How is a student’s Progress 8 score calculated?

A Progress 8 score for a student is calculated by comparing the student’s achievement at the end of Key Stage 4 with the average achievement of all students nationally who had the same end of Key Stage 2 starting point. In other words, has the student made more or less than expected progress when compared students with the same end of KS2 score?

To calculate the Progress 8 score for an individual student you need to know:

  1. The student’s attainment across 8 subjects at the end of Key Stage 4 - this is called Attainment 8.

  2. An end of Key Stage 2 point score for the student - the starting point for the student when they arrive at secondary school.

A student’s Attainment 8 measure is calculated from their performance across 8 subjects:

  1. The point score from a maths subject (double weighted).

  2. The point score from a double weighted English element (if the student’s taken both English language and English literature).

  3. Point scores from 3 different EBacc qualifications.

  4. Point scores from any three other subjects.

Points are taken from the new 1-9 GCSE grading system but there’s also a mapping of grades to points in subjects that have still to make the switch to the new grading scheme.

The student’s end of Key Stage 2 score is worked out from their KS2 reading and maths scores. Their actual scores in each of those 2 tests are used to calculate an overall KS2 points level.

This Department for Education guidance document has more detail on how to calculate Attainment 8 and the end of Key Stage 2 point score for a student and includes clear worked examples.

The final calculation of the student’s Progress 8 score is done as follows:

A school’s overall Progress 8 score is simply the average of all its students Progress 8 scores. The national average of all students at all schools should be zero. At a simple level - and ignoring confidence intervals for now - it could be said that schools with a positive Progress 8 score can be said to be outperforming the average, schools with a negative score would seem to be underperforming.