Update on primary floor standards and progress measures

To coincide with the performance tables checking exercise, the DfE have released an updated Primary Accountability guidance document and additional note on the new progress measures. These documents contain useful information on how progress measures are calculated, and provide more detail on floor standards.

Schools that have downloaded their checking exercise data will find their progress measures in the summary sheet and will note that there are three figures for each of reading, writing and maths, e.g. 2.5 (-4 to 5.6). The first figure (out of brackets) is the progress score: negative indicates that the cohort made less than average progress, 0 indicates average progress, and a positive score indicates more than average progress. The other two figures (in brackets) form the confidence interval, which dictates whether progress is significantly above or below, or in line with average.

How to tell if progress is significant or not
Take note of the confidence interval in brackets beside your progress score:

  • If the first figure in brackets (the lower part of the confidence interval) is positive then your progress is significantly above average. For example: 4.6 (1.7 to 7.4)
  • If the second figure in brackets (the upper part of the confidence interval) is negative then your progress is significantly below -3.2 (-5.9 to -0.5)
  • If the figures range from negative to positive (i.e. they straddle 0) then data is not statistically significant. Your progress score is either positive but not significantly so (e.g. 0.8 (-1.5 to 3.2); or negative but not significantly so (e.g. -1.3 (-2.8 to 0.3).

Floor standards
The updated accountability guidance defines the much anticipated thresholds for ‘sufficient progress’ as follows:

Reading: -5
Writing: -7
Maths: -5

If 65% or more pupils achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths then these sufficient progress thresholds do not come into play. That school is above floor. If fewer than 65% of pupils achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths then the school’s progress scores will be compared against these thresholds. In this situation, the school needs to match or exceed all thresholds to be in the safe zone. However, there are certain circumstances where floor standards do not apply:

  • there are fewer than 11 eligible pupils at KS2
  • fewer than 50% of pupils have KS1 assessments that can be used to establish prior attainment groupings
  • There is insufficient KS2 attainment information because there are fewer than 6 pupils with results in a particular subject.
In addition, please note that if your school falls below the 65% EXS attainment threshold and only falls below one of the three ‘sufficient progress’ threshold then you would need to be significantly below average progress in that subject, not just below, which provides an extra cushion (see footnote on p6 of main guidance) although it is hard to see how any school in scope for floor standards could be anything but significantly below if they fall below the above thresholds. All this tweaking is no doubt to ensure that we end up with the promised 6% of schools below floor
As for coasting, we have no new information. The guidance states that the DfE ‘plan to announce the 2016 progress thresholds, which will be key in determining whether a school meets the 2016 part of the coasting definition, in the autumn when we lay the coasting Regulations in Parliament. We will add this information into this guidance once the Regulations have been laid.‘ So, it looks like progress thresholds for coasting will be different to those used in the floor measures and will probably be tougher (higher).

Nominal scores for teacher assessments

The guidance provides detail of the nominal scores, which will be assigned to teacher assessments for purposes of progress measures. Nominal scores for writing are as follows:
  • Working towards the expected standard: 91
  • Working at the expected standard: 103
  • Working at greater depth: 113
and for those working below the standard of the test (pre-key stage):
  • Below standard of interim pre-key stage standards (BLW): 70
  • Foundations for the expected standard (PKF): 73
  • Early development of the expected standard: 76
  • Growing development of the expected standard: 79
There is no mention of those that sat the tests but failed to score (i.e. HNM). I assume there are very few such children, but it is an anomaly that needs to be cleared up. Let me know if I’ve missed something.
It is important to note that the above scores are for purposes of progress measures, to ensure that progress measures reflect the progress made by all pupils. The scores will not be reported or used elsewhere, including in the average scaled scores that will feature in RAISE and performance tables.

Prior Attainment Groups (PAGs)
For future reference, the DfE provide a useful lookup table, which provides KS2 estimates for each KS1 prior attainment group. There are 21 groups in total, ranging from pupils with KS1 APS between 0 and 2.5, up to the highest prior attainment group comprising pupils with KS1 APS of 21.5 or higher (i.e. at least one subject at KS1 was Level 4). Prior attainment group 12 (those with KS1 APS between 15 and 15.5 – the 2B’ers) have KS2 estimates for reading, writing and maths of 100.6, 100.7, and 101.5 respectively. These scores represent the 2016 average scores for pupils with the same start point nationally (i.e. the average scores for pupils in the same prior attainment group).
It is encouraging to see that the methodology now takes note of p-scales at KS1, rather than lumping all ‘below level 1’ pupils into one group and coding them as ‘W’ (working below). This welcome development results in much greater differentiation of prior attainment groups and will consequently lead to a fairer, more refined progress measure. From now on, pupils that were P6 at KS1 will not have the same ‘expectations’ for KS2 as a pupil that was P8, and that’s a good thing.

Oh, and one more thing: national ‘average’ progress is always 0. Adding up all the +/- differences between actual and average score comparators will always result in 0. There is no longer any such thing as expected progress.

Pupils working at a higher standard
Quick mention of this measure, which we’ve been aware of for some time now (it was originally announced on a government legislation website, and more details came out in the first version of the Primary Accountability document, published in January). We now know the the high standard threshold is 110 for reading, maths and EGPS; whilst in writing it is obviously ‘working at greater depth’ (GDS). The DfE Statement of Intent shows that the performance tables (and RAISE) will show percentages achieving the high standard in each individual subject, but the headline measure is the combined one. This will involve those pupils that achieved 110+ score on the reading and maths tests and achieved GDS in writing (i.e. combined). EGPS scores are not part of the headline measure (this year at least). National and LA data can be found in the recently published SFR, by the way. 

That’s enough for now. Still lots to get through so no doubt I’ll be blogging again in the near future.

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11 thoughts on “Update on primary floor standards and progress measures

  1. Michael Tidd
    on September 1, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Very good point about the HNM pupils. There are quite a few: about 3000 for Reading, for example

  2. James Pembroke
    on September 1, 2016 at 5:20 pm


    Yes, I just used 4 questions marks.

  3. Michael Tidd
    on September 1, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    I'm basing that on the data that says 182,339 pupils "took the test but didn't reach the expected standard" and removing the 179,102 who scored between 80 and 99

  4. chrisdysonHT
    on September 1, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Great points made ….. I think it essential to get a more accurate figure of KS1 below scores using the P scales… In Leeds this year we did indeed have to be a lot more specific and give P scales when required

  5. James Pembroke
    on September 1, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Clever. Good thinking.

  6. Andrew
    on September 1, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Second bullet point on p22. Does that say that pupils who failed to score on test are ignored for progress?

  7. James Pembroke
    on September 2, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    We have no details on how they are scored so it looks like they are not included, unlike those assessed as PKF etc. Seems a serious omission to me consider – by M Tidd's calculation – there are around 3000 such pupils nationally. It seems nuts not to give them a nominal score of 79 (i.e. In line with PKG)

  8. Andrew
    on September 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    I agree. Seems better to hedge bets and enter and hope for a raw of +3 rather than be better for child and not enter and provide PK. (Progress wise). Think I'm right in saying that before it was possible to get a lower APS on the test than for a TA and not submit.

  9. James Pembroke
    on September 2, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Agree although previously if pupil not entered for test, TA would be capped at L2 (15 points). Will have to check point score lookup table but not sure was possible to get lower than 15 points on test in previous years.

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  11. aliya seen
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    I think it essential to get a more accurate figure of KS1 below scores using the P scales… In Leeds this year we did indeed have to be a lot more specific and give P scales when required. association management software

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