A data manager’s guide to analysing your Key Stage 4 data

blank Fiona Rose - 20 March, 2019

Category : Blog

A data manager’s guide to analysing your Key Stage 4 data

The educational landscape is constantly changing, not least the way in which student and school performance is measured. While working in my previous role as a secondary school data manager we still had Levels, GCSEs graded A* to G and RAISEonline. Now we have Progress 8 and Attainment 8 as the headline measures used to

The educational landscape is constantly changing, not least the way in which student and school performance is measured.

While working in my previous role as a secondary school data manager we still had Levels, GCSEs graded A* to G and RAISEonline. Now we have Progress 8 and Attainment 8 as the headline measures used to measure school performance, along with the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) average point score, and the proportion of pupils attaining English and Maths at a grade 5 or above.

Fig 1.: Your free Arbor Insight dashboards analyse trends over the past three years and benchmark you against local, national and “Schools like you” measures

Arbor Insight is all you need to analyse past performance and view trends, but how can you estimate your accountability measures for your current Year 11 cohort?

First, some quick definitions:

Attainment 8 for each student is simply the sum of values of the highest GCSEs within four “buckets”: Maths, English, EBAcc and Open (other subjects). Maths is double-weighted. The highest of English Language and English Literature is placed in the English bucket and is also double-weighted, provided that the student takes both. Some non-GCSE qualifications can count towards the ‘Open’ slots.

Progress 8 for each student is one tenth of the difference between the student’s predicted Attainment 8, and the expected Attainment 8 score, based on their KS2 Prior Attainment. Both measures are calculated after the Key Stage 4 results are released each year, because they’re based on the actual average results achieved by students.

The first and easiest way to analyse your Key Stage 4 performance is to check the features available in your MIS or assessments system. Your MIS may provide estimates for Progress 8 and Attainment 8. Arbor does this within the Progress 8 Analysis dashboard. This automatically uses the complex DfE methodology and will give you a useful overview of your estimated measures. The estimates for each student can be downloaded or sent to a live feed:

Fig. 2.: Arbor uses DfE methodology to calculate estimates for Progress 8 & Attainment 8

What can you do if your MIS doesn’t provide this analysis?

You can calculate your Progress 8 measures within a spreadsheet. You’ll need to start by calculating the KS2 prior attainment for each student. For details of how the DfE calculate the KS2 Prior Attainment you should refer to the Secondary accountability measures document published by the Department for Education. It’s currently the rounded average of the fine scores for Reading and Maths. Below is an example of how the fine scores can be calculated within a spreadsheet – feel free to copy my work!

You can use lookups on the test marks to find the fine score for each student. Then average the two marks and round to one decimal place:

You then need to download the grades for English, Maths, Ebacc and Open from your MIS. To calculate the Attainment 8 convert these grades to values and sum, doubling the value for Maths and English (providing students are taking both English Literature and English Language).

The Secondary accountability measures document provides Attainment 8 and “bucket” averages from the previous year. These can be copied into your spreadsheet.

Use this data to calculate the expected Attainment 8 score and marks for each student. The KS2 Prior Attainment for the student is used to lookup the average marks for Attainment 8 and for the English, Maths, EBacc and Open subjects. The average marks for Maths and English need to be divided by 2 to give the expected marks for these subjects; the EBacc and Open marks need to be divided by 3.

The Progress 8 for each student can be found by subtracting the expected Attainment 8 score from the predicted Attainment 8 score for each student and dividing by 10:

To calculate the overall school Progress 8, find the average of all the students’ Progress 8:

Finally, you can refer to columns from the different sheets and use conditional formatting to analyse your data further:

I hope these tips have been useful for new data managers, as well as those who still aren’t quite comfortable with the new system. If you’d like to find out how you can perform your Progress 8 or Attainment 8 analysis in Arbor instead, do get in touch here!