Progress 8 and Attainment 8

I have had a few people ask what is Progress 8, Attainment 8 and how do ‘they’ work it out….Well, in my simple kind of way, I’ll try and explain.

Long gone are the days of saying ‘my class got 95% A*-C’ and necessary being totally pleased with that. (Even thought it sounds great!)  The measures now highlight what the pupils attained compared to prior attainment at primary schools.

A Progress 8 score is worked out by comparing the end of GCSE achievement, (this is their Attainment 8 score), with the average Attainment 8 score of all pupils in the nation who had prior attainment of a similar starting point at the end of primary school.

Because the Attainment 8 score that a pupil gets is compared to that of others in the nation, it can’t actually be calculated until the pupil actually has their GCSE results.

In the summer when your school has an actual Progress 8 number, you will know instantly if the Head Teacher and Powers that be will be happy.


A score of zero means pupils in this school on average do about as well at key stage 4 as other pupils across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 2.

A score above zero means pupils made more progress, on average, than pupils across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 2.

A score below zero means pupils made less progress, on average, than pupils across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 2.

This sounds simple when it’s written as three bullet points, but if your school number is below zero, the might still have made progress….just not as much progress when you compare how other pupils achieved when the same Key Stage 2 starting point.

Schools in which pupils make on average one grade more progress than the national average (a Progress 8 score of +1.0 or above) will be exempt from routine inspections by Ofsted in the calendar year following the publication of the final performance tables.

For there to be an Attainment 8 score, there must be 8 attainment numbers in the 8 buckets, buckets is a term used for a subject that produces attainment that can be counted towards a pupils Attainment 8 score.

The first two buckets are filled with numbers from Maths and an English attainment number, the highest from Eng Lang/Lit is used.

The next three buckets are filled with EBacc subjects.

The last three buckets are filled with other subjects that are often in option pools on a pupils timetable.

If for example English Literature has been used in the first bucket because it is a higher attainment number than the pupil’s English Language score, the English Language score can still go in another bucket from the third bucket list if needs be.

Buckets one and two have a double weighting so that when all 8 attainment scores are in, the total number of them all added together can be divided by 10 to give an average….so it is essential that Maths and an English grade are good as these are doubled in the first two buckets.

Key Stage two attainment is used to produce a fine points score for a pupil, this number is used to predict what a pupils Attainment 8 score will be.

The Attainment 8 score is produced from adding the 10 GCSE results together (Eng and Maths double to give 10), this is then deducted from the estimated Attainment 8 number that the pupil should get based on KS2 data. This number is then divided by 10.  This is the pupil’s Progress 8 score….Simples.


If John got:

7 in Maths (14)

8 in  a English Language (16)

6 in Core Science

7 in Additional Science

7 in French

6 in English Literature

6 Design and Technology

5 in Art

The total would be 67.

If John’s KS2 data gave an average of 5.1

It is worked out that if a pupils has KS2 data of 5.1, then their Attainment 8 score would be 59.92. (This will change year on year as new data is used).

67-59.92 = 7.08

7.08 / 10 = 0.71

In this case John did really well and scored much higher than zero for his Progress 8 Score.

I hope this has made some sense….

Thank you for reading.

Data for this blog post was take from:







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