The implications of Labour's plan to scrap Key Stage 2 tests for Progress 8 and secondary school accountability in England

11/15/2019
by   George Leckie, et al.
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In England, Progress 8 is the Conservative government's headline secondary school performance and accountability measure. Progress 8 attempts to measure the average academic progress pupils make in each school between their KS2 tests and their GCSE Attainment 8 examinations. The Labour opposition recently announced they would scrap the KS2 tests were they to be elected. Such a move, however, would preclude the publication of Progress 8 and would leave schools to be compared in terms of their average Attainment 8 scores or, at best, their Attainment 8 scores only adjusted for school differences in pupil demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. In this paper, we argue and illustrate empirically that this best-case scenario of an 'Adjusted Attainment 8' measure would prove less fair and meaningful than Progress 8 and therefore a backwards step, especially when Progress 8 itself has been criticised as biased against schools teaching educationally disadvantaged intakes.

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