Progress 8 is a welcome change, but league tables will still pervert education

League tables pervert education and undermine teachers, and while the arrival of Progress 8 is welcome, it does not change this home truth, says Pete Henshaw

The annual league table circus has come to town once again – although this year there is change in the air.

The secondary performance tables, against which SecEd has railed for years, already have a more professional air about them now that the inclusion of Progress 8 information has begun. Only 327 schools chose to have their Progress 8 information included for this transitional year, but it still gives us a taste of what we can expect in 12 months’ time.

The rankings, published by the Department for Education, show the progress that students in these schools have made across their best eight eligible subjects compared to the progress we expected them to make (based on prior attainment). A school’s whole-school Progress 8 figure is then compared to the national average, resulting in a +0.49 or -0.49 score, for example. All-in-all, it does seems a fairer system and the figures can be broken down to view just the Progress 8 score of disadvantaged pupils, for example, or by the three Progress 8 subject “baskets”.

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