qualification reforms, GCSEs from 2017 & Progress 8
Grading New GCSEs from 2017
GCSE content and grading are in their second year of the process of being overhauled as directed by the government. New courses in English and Maths have already started for our current year 11s, with a second wave of new subject qualifications starting for current year 10s and the third and final wave of new qualifications to be introduced for the current year 9s. This means that current year 10s will study a mixture of current and new GCSEs. Current year 7, 8 and 9 students will study only new GCSEs.
As the content of these subjects change, so does the grading system. It changes from A* to G grades to 9 to 1. How these grades relate to each other is shown to the left.
According to the DfE a good pass is currently considered to be a C or better. When the new grading structure comes in a good pass will be a grade 5 or better.
As a school we recognise that progress is as important as attainment. A grade 5 or C grade is not a good pass for a student who should have achieved an A; conversely a D grade or grade 3 may well represent good progress for some students. We are pleased that the government also recognises that and will be using student progress to measure schools’ effectiveness from September 2016.
The Department for Education is changing how school performance is measured.
Since 2016, the new ‘progress 8’ measure has been used to judge all secondary schools on the progress students make.
What does progress 8 measure?
Progress 8 calculates how much progress students make between their results in year 6 (when students are aged 10 or 11) and their results in year 11 (when students are 15 or 16).
Progress 8 compares students’ year 11 exam results with those of other students with similar year 6 results.
Students’ progress 8 scores are only worked out so that the school’s overall progress 8 score can be worked out.
A school’s progress 8 score is an average of all students’ individual scores. It shows whether, as a group, students in the school made above or below average progress compared to similar students in other schools.
Which subjects are included?
Progress 8 is designed to offer a broad and balanced curriculum, with a focus on academic subjects. Students will have their achievement measured across eight subjects. These will include:
- Maths and English
- Three English baccalaureate (EBacc) qualifications (which include sciences, history, geography and languages)
- Three other approved qualifications (from the ‘open group’)
The image at the bottom of this page shows how these different groups of subjects fit together for progress 8.
If a student sits more than eight subjects the highest results for the qualifications in each group will be used.
If a student has not taken eight qualifications they will get a lower progress 8 score.
There is no compulsory combination of EBacc qualifications that students have to sit.
Will I find out my child’s progress 8 score?
Schools are not required to share students’ progress 8 scores. The school may choose to report it.
Can my child take more than three EBacc subjects?
Yes. Students can take any subjects in the DfE’s list of approved qualifications as part of the ‘open group’ of qualifications.
Do all students have to study the progress 8 set of subjects?
Source: Factsheet: progress 8 measure, GOV.UK - DfE
Not necessarily. Progress 8 scores will be calculated for all students, except those who did not sit tests at the end of year 6. However, a school can enter any student for any qualification, including those not in the EBacc.
How do Science subjects count in Progress 8?
Biology, chemistry, physics and computer science each count as one qualification. Core and additional science also count as one qualification each, but double science will count as two qualifications. All sciences can be included in the EBacc qualifications and in the final three spaces of the ‘open group’.
Where to go for more information
If you have any questions about progress 8 and what it means for your child, please do not hesitate to contact the school via the following routes:
Email:firstname.lastname@example.org – please include Progress 8 F.A.O Mrs Wilson in the subject bar.
For more information about how Progress 8 works and how it could affect your child, you may find the following helpful:
Video: progress 8 (explained in 3 minutes) – YouTube. Please click HERE.
Fact sheet on Progress 8 – Department for Education. Please click HERE.
List of EBacc qualifications – Department for Education. Please click HERE.
Schools’ Progress 8 scores will be published in the secondary school performance tables:
Find and compare schools in England – GOV.UK. Please click HERE.