Now with added Progress 8!
- It's a threshold measure, which means that each pupil either gets five good GCSEs or they don't – there's no information about the degree of over or underperformance relative to this standard. Not only does this make the measure incomplete, it also creates perverse incentives to focus effort on children who are close the threshold while ignoring the rest. Attainment 8 overcomes this by looking at a broader range of subjects and, most importantly, by using a continuous scoring system that takes into account each pupil's grade in every relevant subject.
- It only measures absolute attainment. This depends not only on how well each pupil does while at secondary school, but also on their ability when they joined from primary school. Academic attainment is certainly important in creating life chances, but progress is a fairer basis on which to judge the performance of schools. The DfE has previously provided various "value-added" measures, so the ideas behind Progress 8 are not entirely new, but it will hopefully provide a new level of prominence and consistency to this approach.
Maps 1 and 2: Average Attainment 8 score (2016) and percentage of pupils gaining five good GCSEs (2015) by region
Maps 3 and 4: Average Attainment 8 score (2016) and percentage of pupils gaining five good GCSEs (2015) by parliamentary constituency
Maps 5 and 6: Average Progress 8 score (2016) and GCSE value-added score (2015) by parliamentary constituency