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The evolution of school league tables in England 1992-2016: ‘contextual value-added’, ‘expected progress’ and ‘progress 8’

Research output: Working paperWorking paper and Preprints

Original languageEnglish
Publisher or commissioning bodyGraduate School of Education, University of Bristol
Number of pages35
DatePublished - 3 Oct 2016

Publication series

NameBristol Working Papers in Education Series
Volume#2/2016

Abstract

Since 1992, the UK Government has published so-called ‘school league tables’ summarizing the average General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) ‘attainment’ and ‘progress’ made by pupils in each state-funded secondary school in England. While the headline measure of school attainment has remained the percentage of pupils achieving five or more good GCSEs, the headline measure of school progress has changed from ‘value-added’ (2002-2005) to ‘contextual value-added’ (2006-2010) to ‘expected progress’ (2011-2015) to ‘progress 8’ (2016-).

This paper charts this evolution with a critical eye. First, we question the Government’s justifications for scrapping contextual value-added. Second, we argue that the current expected progress measure suffers from fundamental design flaws. Third, we show that the differences between expected progress and contextual value added are considerable leading to fundamentally different school rankings. Fourth, we discuss how ‘progress 8’ attempts to address some, but not all, of the flaws in expected progress. We conclude that all these progress measures and school league tables more generally should be viewed with far more scepticism and interpreted far more cautiously than they have often been to date.

    Research areas

  • contextual value-added, expected progress, progress 8, school league tables

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via The University of Bristol at http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/education/documents/bristol-working-papers-in-education/The%20evolution%20of%20school%20league%20tables%20in%20England%201992-2016.pdf. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 1 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY-NC

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