The difference between RAISE and floor standards

For the past 3 years, the DfE have compared schools’ percentages making 2 levels of progress (so-called expected progress) in reading, writing and maths against a floor standard. If the school had fewer than 65% achieving L4+RWM but was equal to or above just one of these floor standards then they were officially deemed to be above floor. The floor standards in 2014 were 94%, 96% and 93% in reading, writing and maths respectively. In 2015, only the writing floor had changed (it increased to 97%).

Until recently many schools didn’t realise that there was a difference between these floor standards and the national percentages for expected progress presented in RAISE. But now that the floor standards take centre stage on the front page of the inspection dashboards, and are built into the coasting schools methodology, schools have started to notice that figures used for floor standards do not match those in their RAISE reports. And that’s because they are derived from completely different calculations. It’s time to explain the difference and hopefully clear up any confusion. 

Thanks to @educating_gaz for tweeting this table, which shows the big difference between the two measures. We’ll deal with each in turn.


This is often referred to as the national average but it’s not really an average at all; it’s an overall national proportion of pupils making 2 levels of progress. It is calculated as if all Y6 pupils in England are in one school. So, take the total cohort of 500,000 Y6 pupils and work out the percentage that made 2 levels of progress. Simple as that, and not really an average.

2) Floor standards

These are averages, but not mean averages as many might assume; they are in fact national medians. All 15439 primary schools in England are ranked by percentage making 2 levels of progress (theoretically from 0% to 100%) and the result of the school ranked at the 50th percentile is taken as the floor standard. So this will be the percentage making 2 levels of progress in the 7720th school in the stack. And this is done for reading, writing and maths.

So, that’s the difference between the two. Hope that makes sense.

And just to clarify further, the mean average doesn’t come into it. This would involve adding up all the percentages making 2LP in each school and dividing the total by the number of schools. 

Please don’t ever do that, it really is bad practice indeed. It would only work if there were precisely the same number of pupils in each cohort in each school. 

Which is not the case

So don’t do it. 


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5 thoughts on “The difference between RAISE and floor standards

  1. Unknown
    on March 6, 2016 at 10:15 am

    So what are the implications for schools? If there are different averages being used, how could that be a positive?

  2. James Pembroke
    on March 6, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Good question. You can be above so-called 'average' in RAISE, but below the floor standards on the dashboard. It's a mess and there is no positive.

  3. Unknown
    on March 6, 2016 at 10:28 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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