Results achieved by pupils entered early for GCSEs in the last two years will not count towards school league tables this year, the government has confirmed.
There were around 95,000 GCSE entries from pupils in year 10 and below last year. But the Department for Education has said these results will not affect progress 8 scores, potentially impacting schools’ league table results.
Performance tables for individual secondary schools and multi-academy trusts will be published this year for the first time since 2019, following two years of Covid disruption.
The DfE has now set out how the process will work this year.
Here’s your trusty Schools Week explainer …
1. Early entries won’t count towards progress 8
The government already said results data from 2020 and 2021 wouldn’t be used in league tables in future years.
However, the DfE has clarified today that this means results from early GCSE entries from the last two years will not count towards pupils’ and schools’ progress 8 and attainment 8 scores.
There were around 95,000 GCSE entries from pupils in year 10 and below last year.
The DfE’s guidance means that, if a school entered a year 10 pupil for their English literature GCSE in 2021 and English language in 2022, only their English language results will count in the league tables.
The English “bucket” for progress 8 would still be double-weighted because both subjects had been entered, but the results from one of the qualifications will not contribute to a pupil and school’s overall score.
The DfE said its changes to its methodology “minimise, but cannot eliminate completely, the impact of gaps in data”.
Its approach is the “best option available”, and “we will ensure messages are placed on performance tables to highlight the change in methodology and potential impact on a school’s performance measures”.
2. MAT league tables will include attainment scores
Alongside school-level league tables, the DfE has said it will also produce and publish multi-academy trust performance measures for 2021-22.
These will “for the first time” include attainment 8 and attainment in English and maths at grade 5 or above at MAT level.
Changes to methodology including the rule on early entries will also apply to MAT league tables.
3. Most autumn exams won’t count
The government held an “extraordinary” exam series last autumn to allow those unhappy with teacher-assessed grades issued in the summer a chance to improve their results in a formal exam.
The DfE said results from these exams would be excluded from this year’s league tables, apart from qualifications “routinely” offered in the autumn, such as technical awards and GCSE English and maths qualifications.
In these cases, the “first entry rule” – where a pupil’s first entry in a particular subject counts towards the school’s performance tables – will apply.
4. DfE to review how it calculates prior attainment
SATs results from key stage 2 are used as the baseline for progress 8 scores at key stage 4.
SATs were changed in 2016 so that results are reported as scaled scores rather than national curriculum levels. Most pupils who took the new tests for the first time that year reached the end of key stage 4 in 2020-21.
This means many of the changes will affect league tables for the first time this year.
The DfE said it needed to create new “prior attainment groups” based on key stage 2 scaled scores in order to calculate progress 8 and EBacc scores for sciences, humanities and languages.
The government will also need to amend its definitions of low, middle and high prior attainment, but said it was not ready to confirm how scaled scores would be assigned to attainment groups.
In its guidance, the DfE said it was “confident that much of the methodology for calculating Progress 8 will remain similar to previous years”, and that the changes that are needed “are likely to have minimal impact on the distribution of progress 8 scores”.
However, the government said it needed to “see the full data set for 2021/22 before we will be able to confirm how KS2 scaled scores will be assigned to prior attainment groups, or to confirm attainment 8 averages”.