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Pros and Cons of Progress 8 and Attainment 8

The academic year of 2016/2017 was the first in which Progress 8 and Attainment 8 were introduced to ensure all students were studying a broad and balanced curriculum, and to place emphasis on students' progress and make sure they were working to their full potential. With a focus on this, we weigh out the pros and cons below.

Pros

All students are pushed to their full potential

By measuring a school’s overall attainment for all pupils, focus is shifted from the number of students achieving a C grade and above. This means that all students should receive equal attention and be pushed to their full potential as opposed to the focus being on the C/D borderline students.


All subjects receive the same amount of attention

As results are no longer broken down by specific subjects and instead attainment is measured over a combination of 8, equal attention will be given to all subjects students are studying as all grades achieved could add to a student’s overall Attainment 8 score.


Students are encouraged to study a broad curriculum

Due to the fact that all slots in Buckets 2 and 3 (Ebacc subjects and ‘Other’ subjects) have to be filled, students at GCSE level will be encouraged to study a wider variety of subjects, because if not all slots are filled from the buckets, a score of 0 will be awarded for that slot.

 

Cons

Creative subjects aren’t given enough attention

Not enough emphasis is put on creative subjects in the new structure. At first glance it appears as though the ‘Other’ slot caters for these subjects, however when you find out that these slots can be filled by Ebacc subjects and English it undermines the importance of the creative subjects.


Students’ individual learning needs aren’t accounted for

There are concerns that Progress 8 scores don’t take into account the variety of students in a school such as those who are SEN, EAL, PP or those that are in areas of deprivation. Outliers whose results could have a detrimental impact on a school’s overall score are also not accounted for at present.


Extra pressure on high achievers at KS2

Students who achieved a high attainment score at KS2 could be under a lot of pressure to increase their Attainment 8 score at GCSE despite performing at the higher end of the scale, as they would have to work at getting the very top grades to ensure they have a positive Progress 8 score.

Next: Starting the New Academic Year Right


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