February 06, 2017

Proposed Pupil Progress Measures Are Unfair and Discriminatory

The Co-operative Academies Trust was recently featured in an article in Schools Week referring to the goverments proposed changes to the way that progress-8 is calculated. You can find that article here.

A copy of the press release regarding this story is below.

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New Government proposals to measure pupil progress are grossly unfair and probably discriminatory, according to the head of a leading academy trust.

Frank Norris, Director of the Co-operative Academies Trust, believes that the Department of Education’s proposed changes to how pupil progress is calculated values higher attaining students above all others. This will encourage schools to concentrate once again on high- level achievers at the expense of others.

Currently the Progress 8 measure is calculated on a simple one point per grade rise which means all students making progress are treated equally. However, from next year those gaining GCSE A and B grades will be awarded 1.5 points while progress from a Grade G to F will be worth just .5. All other grades will attract a score of one point.

The Progress 8 measure was introduced fully in 2016 and was seen as a fairer way of calculating how effective a school was in improving the grades awarded to each student. It is used to determine whether the school has met government measures such as its ‘floor standard’ and ‘coasting’ criteria. It is also a strong evidence source for Ofsted inspections.

Frank Norris said: “The Co-operative Academies Trust fully supports efforts to drive up standards for all students regardless of ability or background. However, the proposed changes to the system are unfair and probably discriminatory. They are unfair because they are based on the flawed thinking that it is much harder for a student to move from a grade B to an A rather than from grade G to F. They are probably discriminatory because they imply it is less important and worthwhile for lower attaining students to achieve as well as they can.

“Up until now schools have been encouraged and rewarded for concentrating on the progress of all students despite their grade level but that will no longer be the case. The current system does this but the proposed one doesn’t. It cannot be right that efforts to drive up standards is achieved at the expense of some lower attaining students. For some particular students improving a grade may be a significant achievement.”

The Co-operative Academies Trust currently oversees eight primary and secondary academies in Leeds, Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent. It is sponsored by the Co-op, the country’s largest mutual business and one of the largest business sponsors of academies in the country. 

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