The research, commissioned by the DfE, looked at school leaders' understanding of the Progress 8 measure – what they felt to be the positives and negatives of the measure, and the changes they had introduced to implement it.
- The majority of interviewees (34 of 38) regarded their understanding of the Progress 8 measure to be 'good' or 'excellent'.
- Generally, it was felt that Progress 8 was an improvement in terms of encouraging progress across all school cohorts and ability levels.
- However, schools did not generally agree that Progress 8 was achieving the aim of a broad curriculum
- Participants had some specific concerns that they felt need to be addressed to achieve a more accurate and reflective Progress 8 score:
- Impact of outliers
- Lack of contextualisation in the calculations
- Narrowing of the curriculum
- First versus best entry
- Subject-specific queries.
- These issues created tension for many interviewees between the choices that needed to be made for the interests of an individual child and in the interests of a school’s Progress 8 score.
- The main challenges that schools reported in preparing for and implementing Progress 8 were a lack of resources (e.g. staff shortages, financial constraints) and the number of curriculum/policy changes occurring at the same time.
- There was a perceived need for more communications/guidance for schools in terms of details of the calculations, approved subjects/qualifications and explaining the new measure to staff members, governors and parents.
About the research:
- Telephone interviews were undertaken with 38 individuals across 21 schools.
- Twenty-five participants were senior school leaders (head teachers, deputy head teachers/vice principals), and 13 were middle leaders (heads of department, Data Managers).
The full research report can be found here.
While the research found participants’ overall understanding of Progress 8 was high, there were some points of misconceptions of the policy detail. As such, the DfE also released a briefing document that seeks to address any policy misconceptions found during the research and to clarify some of the finer details of the policy.
This can be found here.