In September 2016, following the publication of progress data, members raised concerns regarding pupils who were working below the standard of statutory assessments. Although these pupils had not taken the tests, they were still included in school performance measures. Although recognising the importance of valuing the progress of all pupils, the current methodology for progress meant that some of these pupils had a disproportionately negative impact on the progress data. It was also the case that if children took the test but didn't score enough marks to gain a scaled score, they were disapplied from the progress data.
NAHT raised these concerns with the accountability team at the Department for Education (DfE) and has since had regular discussions to discuss potential improvements which could be made. Our work has secured positive and necessary improvement.
The DfE has now decided to implement an improved methodology in calculating the progress scores for these pupils which should significantly reduce the disproportionate impact they had in 2016 and to include in the progress measure those pupils who took the test but gained too few marks to be allocated a scaled score.
The DfE will be testing these approaches once they have the 2017 test and assessment results, and will update this guidance in September 2017 to provide further details.
The updated technical guidance on primary school accountability explains these changes and also confirms that the DfE will set 2017 thresholds for floor standards and coasting standards in the autumn.
From 2017, the DfE intend to include pupils in special schools in the calculation of key stage 1 prior attainment groups for the progress measures.
The rationale behind this is that by including these pupils, it will enable them to include a greater number of prior attainment groups for pupils below the standard of the test.
Currently, any pupil that is assessed on P-scales at key stage 2 is allocated the same nominal point (70) but in 2017 the DfE intend to break this category down further.
The DfE feel that this, alongside including special school cohorts in the calculation of prior attainment groups, should enable greater like-for-like comparisons between pupils below the standard of the test. It is important to note that special schools would still be exempt from floor and coasting standards.
From 2017, the DfE intend to include pupils that were entered for the test, but gained too few marks to be allocated a scaled score in the progress measures.
In 2016, pupils that were entered for the test, but gained too few marks to be allocated a scaled score, were not included in the progress measures. In 2017, these pupils are intended to be included by allocating nominal points to them in these cases.