The DfE has updated its guidance document ‘Secondary accountability measures’ for the 2018/19 academic year: here are the headlines you need to know.


Floor and coasting standards remain but we’re in a transition year


The document confirms that an Autumn consultation will take place to determine the best way to identify schools that may benefit from support. The new approach will be in place from September 2019.

Until then, floor and coasting standards remain in place; however, for 2018, the floor and coasting standards will only be used to identify schools in need of support, rather than to issue academy orders and warning notices, unless the school has been judged inadequate.


The coasting definition remains the same


As we expected, the coasting definition remains the same. Just to jog your memory, a school will be defined as coasting if, in 2016, 2017 and 2018, the school’s Progress 8 score was below -0.25.

The EBacc average points score (APS) has replaced the EBacc attainment measure

The headline EBacc attainment measure is now the EBacc APS, not the EBacc attainment measure (the percentage of pupils at the school achieving the EBacc at a grade 5 or above in English and maths, and at a grade C or above in other subjects). The EBacc APS measures pupils’ point scores across the five pillars of the EBacc.

This move has been made to encourage schools to enter pupils of all abilities by recognising the attainment of all pupils, not just those at particular grade boundaries. For English results to be included in the EBacc APS calculation, pupils must sit both English language and English literature – the highest grade will count. You can find out exactly how the EBacc APS is calculated on pages 32-35.


Combined science point scores have been clarified


Combined science qualification grades and their corresponding point scores for 2018-19 are clarified on pages 36-37.


Strong and standard passes have been clarified


The guidance confirms that grade 5 passes in English and maths are considered “strong passes” and a grade 4 is considered a “standard pass”. It adds that a standard pass is “a credible achievement for a young person that should be valued as a passport to future study and employment”.


Prior attainment group (PAG) thresholds for pupils with extremely negative scores have been set


Schools can use PAG thresholds to see which PAG a pupil will be allocated to and identify the lowest score they can receive in 2018. There are no PAGs for pupils at levels 1-18, as the average KS4 scores for these groups are not considered high enough to allow for extremely negative scores. The full PAG threshold table is available on page 50.


Adjusted progress 8 scores have been explained


Extremely negative Progress 8 scores could, in theory, have a disproportionate impact on a school’s average Progress 8 score. Whilst the previous guidance dealt with minimum negative scores, the October 2018 version explains how adjusted scores are calculated to account for anomalies.

Here’s a short version of the DfE’s example (available in full on page 28):

Stuart’s prior attainment was high: a KS2 fine points score of 5.8. At the end of KS4, Stuart achieved no Attainment 8 points. As a result, his Progress 8 score is -7.72.

The minimum progress for pupils in Stuart’s PAG is -2.74, meaning an adjusted score of -2.74 is entered for Stuart in the school’s Progress 8 calculations. This adjusted score raises the school’s overall score from 0.26 to 0.29.

The example shows the importance of this adjustment. In smaller schools, the adjustment will be even more important.


Apprenticeships and pupil destinations have been separated


The way progression into apprenticeships is reported in pupil destinations has changed:  apprenticeships have been separated from other education and employment participation. Figures for individual categories are likely to be lower than in previous years, as this will remove the double counting between apprenticeships and other categories. More information can be found on page 10.


The use of grouped fine levels has been explained


The use of grouped fine levels in estimating Attainment 8 is explained in more detail than the August version, and a table detailing grouped KS2 fine levels is included on page 48.


What’s next?


  • Share this up-to-speed document with staff to keep them up-to-date with the changes.
  • Watch out for the upcoming accountability consultation, as this will shape the future of secondary accountability.




DfE (2018) ‘Secondary accountability measures’