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Progress 8 and Attainment 8

Progress 8 and  Attainment 8

A Guide to Attainment 8 and Progress 8

What is Progress 8 and Attainment 8?

The Progress 8 (P8) is a new headline measure introduced by the government which relates to the achievement of students who leave West Craven in Year 11 in comparison with their peers of similar ability at all other schools in the country. The measure is important for us as a school as it gives an indication of performance here against all other schools nationally. A student’s individual P8 score is not disclosed to their future employers or further education providers. It is data which is only used by staff at West Craven High School.

When students arrive in Year 7 the data from their KS2 SATs is used to create an estimated Attainment 8 (A8) score. This is a points value which the government estimates that they should leave with at the end of Year 11. This means that all students nationally who attain the same KS2 score will have the same estimated A8 score. In turn, this allows schools to compare the progress of their students with the progress of all students nationally of the same ability.

In 2017, new GCSE (9-1) qualifications in English and Mathematics will be included in the Progress 8 measure.  Further new GCSEs (9-1) will be introduced from 2018.  This will mean that students will have both numerical (reformed GCSEs) and alphabetical grades (legacy GCSEs) when they collect their results.  During this transition period points from the old style GCSEs will be mapped on the 1-9 scale.   This year, a Grade 4 in English and Mathematics is considered a pass for the student which will enable them to progress onto Level 3 courses at college but in school, a Grade 5 is the pass benchmark.  The total A8 score is calculated by adding up the points value of each grade based on the following table;

Legacy GCSEs   

Points Value    

Reformed GCSEs

GCSE equivalent

A* 8.5 9 A*
A 7 8 A*
B 5.5 7 A
C 4 6 B
D 3 5 C
E 2 4 D
F 1.5 3 E
G 1 2 F
U 0 1 G

How is Progress 8 calculated?

To calculate a student’s P8 score at the end of Year 11, we can simply subtract their estimated A8 score away from their actual A8 score and divide by 10. If the end figure is positive, then the student has done better than their peers. If it is negative, they have not performed as well as their peers. It is important to remember that students are only being compared against those of similar ability.

(Actual Score – Estimated Score) = Progress Score


The A8 score is calculated using the student’s best 8 subjects which are allocated into 3 ‘baskets’.

Basket Image   Basket 1:    2 subjects >English and Mathematics

Basket Image   Basket 2:    3 subjects >The English Baccalaureate subjects

Basket Image   Basket 3:   3 subjects >Any from those which remain

If a student sits both English Language and English Literature, the higher grade is double weighted in the English slot. The lower grade can count in a slot in the ‘open’ element of subjects (but not in the EBacc element) if it is higher than the open basket.

Consider the following example which shows how this would work in real life;

Student A in Year 11 achieves the following nine GCSE qualifications when they leave West Craven.

English Language 7, English Literature 6, Mathematics 5, Core Science A, Additional Science B

Geography B, Art D, French C, Design Technology B

These subjects are allocated by the school into the three baskets as follows;

3 Baskets

Notice that despite Student A achieving nine GCSEs, their Art GCSE has not been allocated in to a Basket. This is because, subject to the criteria of the Basket, P8 only takes the best 8 subjects and here Student A has scored higher in English Literature than they have in Art.

As Student A has taken both English Language and English Literature, their Basket 1 points are doubled. By adding up all of their points, Student A gets an Attainment 8 score as follows;

Basket 1: 14+8 = 22

Basket 2: 7+5.5+5.5 = 18

Basket 3: 5.5+5.5+4= 15

Total Attainment 8 Points Score: 55

We then subtract the estimated A8 score which in the case of Student A was 45.5.

This gives us a score of 9.5, which we then divide by 10, to give a P8 score of +0.95.

So here, in the case of Student A, they have achieved better at WCHS by nearly a whole grade in each subject than they would have done by going to a different school.

To calculate our whole school P8 score, we add up all the individual P8 scores and divide by the number of students who are in Year 11.

Some really important information to remember

  • P8 scores change every year for schools based on the performance of their Yr11 students
  • One or two students who underperform can make a massive difference to the school’s P8 score
  • All students should ensure they fill all Baskets with 8 qualifications