The DfE’s ‘Primary school accountability in 2019’ outlines the accountability measures in place for primary schools, including how progress scores are calculated.


The removal of the floor and coasting standards


From September 2019, the floor and coasting standards no longer apply. The government has set out a new support offer for schools that were identified as ‘requires improvement’ in their latest Ofsted report. More information about this support offer can be found here.


Performance tables


The headline measures, which will be published in the performance tables in December 2019, include attainment and progress measures. These are:

  • The percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and maths at the end of KS2.
  • The pupils’ average scaled score in reading and in maths at the end of KS2.
  • The percentage of pupils who achieve at a higher standard in reading, writing and maths.
  • The pupils’ average progress in reading, writing and maths.


The progress measure


The progress measure is a school-level accountability measure, meaning that individual pupils’ progress is only calculated to determine the school’s overall progress score – separate progress scores are calculated for reading, writing and maths.

A school’s progress score for a subject is the mean average of its pupils’ progress scores in that subject – these are allocated for reading, writing and maths.


Allocating point scores


To calculate progress scores, pupils are allocated into prior attainment groupings with all other pupils with similar KS1 attainment nationally – for 2019, prior attainment was based on teacher assessments at the end of KS1 which were converted into points.

A pupil’s point scores for reading, writing and maths are combined to give them an average point score (APS) for KS1. Points are also allocated to pupils working below level 1 at KS1 to ensure differences in ability are recognised.

For reading and maths, KS2 test results are reported as scaled scores – the score for each subject is used as the pupil’s KS2 outcome in the progress score calculation. The points allocated to each teacher assessment category for pupils below the standard of the test are changing from 2019 – the new values can be found on page 20 of the 2019 guidance.

P scales 1-4 will continue to be used for the statutory assessment of pupils not engaged in subject-specific study at the end of KS2 (and KS1) in 2019/2020. From the 2020/2021 academic year, these scales will be replaced with a new assessment approach, based on the seven aspects of engagement model.


Extremely negative progress scores


The DfE has introduced a limit on how negative a pupil’s individual progress score can be, to prevent extremely negative scores from having a disproportionate effect on a school’s average.

Minimum score thresholds are determined based on the variation in pupil scores within that prior attainment group – this score will be fixed at a set number of standard deviations below the mean so that one percent of pupils are identified nationally. By design, these minimum scores will change each year.


Using performance data to predict scores and share progress data


The government response to the Workload Advisory Group report ‘Making data work’ advises schools about setting predictions or targets for pupils to aid teaching.

Predicting pupils’ attainment can sometimes be appropriate; however, pupils or their parents do not need to be routinely told the levels that they ‘should’ or ‘are likely to’ achieve at the end of KS1 or KS2. In addition, it was advised that ‘flight paths’, where pupils are told the levels they will achieve based on the performance data of pupils with similar starting points in previous years, are not valid as a prediction, as they understate the variation in pupil trajectories of development.

Schools are not held to account by the DfE for pupil targets and predictions, and LAs or academy trusts should not routinely request such information. Schools should not share individual scores with pupils or parents, or try to predict pupil or school level progress scores in advance of when provisional data is available.


What’s next?


  • Read the DfE’s full guidance here and our 3-Minute Read here.
  • For resources on primary assessment, useful progress trackers and the answers to commonly asked questions, visit our Assessment and Reporting topic.




DfE (2019) ‘Primary school accountability in 2019’