Setting up and analysing Progress 8 Assessments

Progress 8 assessments are a type of summative assessment available in Arbor, used by secondaries to measure the progress of KS4 students.

For further information, please see page 19 onwards of the DfE's Secondary accountability measures (including Progress 8 and Attainment 8).

Before setting up these assessments

You must have already set up the courses and classes that will be assessed before setting up the assessments, and have enrolled students into them. Only courses and classes with students can be linked with an assessment.


What is Progress 8?

Progress 8 was brought in by the government for secondary schools to offer student's a broad and balanced curriculum with an emphasis on the importance of academic subjects. It is called Progress 8 as students choose 8 subjects from three buckets. 

Performance is now measured in the following ways:

  • Attainment 8: A student’s average achievement in each subject they sit. Adding all of the scores together (including double weighting) gives you the student’s Attainment 8 score.
  • English & Maths: The % of students achieving a grade 5 or higher in English (either Literature or Language) and Maths.
  • The EBacc: The % of students achieving good grades across a range of academic subjects. 

Progress 8 measures how much progress is made by each individual student, in comparison to the national average of their peers who entered secondary school with the same KS2 prior attainment levels.  

It is important to note that the Progress 8 score of a student cannot be perfectly predicted. The actual value of the Progress 8 grades is only finalised once KS4 exams have been taken and marked. 

Subjects are grouped into 'buckets' to calculate how they contribute to the the Progress 8 score.


Bucket 1

Mathematics (this is double weighted)

English (providing a student has taken both English Lit AND English Language, the highest of the two scores will be double weighted). The lower grade English subject can still be included in Bucket 3 but only if it is one of the pupil's eight highest grades.   

Bucket 2

Three Ebacc subjects:

  • Separate Sciences (3 spaces)
  • Core science
  • Core and additional science (2 spaces)
  • Computer science
  • History 
  • Geography 
  • Languages (1 space for each) 
Bucket 3

Bucket 3 is filled with a pupil's three highest point scores in any three other subjects, including English Literature (if not counted in Bucket 1) and Ebacc qualifications, other GCSEs or other approved academic or vocational qualifications. Example subjects in this bucket are: 

  • PE
  • Art
  • Dance/Drama
  • Technologies 
  • Music
  • BTEC Qualifications 


Do students have to take at least 8 subjects?

It is not compulsory for all students to take 8 subjects; this is usually the case with less able students who need additional intervention on other subjects.

However, where students take less than 8 subjects they will be awarded a 0 on their unfilled slots. This can be beneficial as these students are therefore more likely to achieve a higher grade in the few subjects they sit and therefore attain a higher average grade rather than risking a lower average grade by taking more subjects.


Setting up the assessment(s)

The instructions below will help with adding basic assessments, but some require a more complex setup - you can see these here:

Step 1 - Add the assessment to your Assessment Framework

To add the assessment to the Assessment Framework go to Students > Assessments > Assessment Framework > Assessment Catalogue and click the Create new Assesment button. 



Click the Create new Progress 8 assessment button.



From the lists on the Choose Assessment page, choose the progress 8 assessment you would like to add. 

Please note that the qualifications available in English/MathematicsEbacc and Other directly correspond to the subjects in each of the three Progress 8 buckets, as outlined in the What is Progress 8? article.



In this example, I selected Art & Design GCSE (Level 1/2) from the Other drop-down menu. Click Choose Assessment when happy with your selection.



Progress through the workflow to confirm the Assessment details and grade set.

Please note: You won't be able to use custom grade sets for Progress 8 assessments because the grades are set based on the qualification chosen. If you think there is a problem with one of the grade sets contact our support team. 





Once you have clicked Complete Setup and the assessment has been added to your Assessment Framework, you can add more assessments or return to the Assessment Catalogue page.


Step 2 - Add the assessment to your Annual Policy

To add the Progress 8 assessment to your Annual Policy for the year, go to Students > Assessments > Annual Policy > Manage Assessments. Click the green Add assessment to policy button. 

You can then select an Assessment type, and select an assessment to add to your policy. Then click Next.



On the next page, select the groups of students you would like to include in the assessment, how often the assessment will be taken, and add any courses to be linked. Then click Add assessment(s).



The assessment will then appear in your Manage Assessment list, which you can click to complete the setup or edit some of the information.


How do I add a new Progress 8 option?

If you don't see the Progress 8 assessment available in the list to select, please contact the Arbor Support Team if supported by Arbor, or your Support Partner if not supported by Arbor.


Marking the assessments

You can click on the cells in the marksheet to add marks, use the Bulk action button, or import grades using a spreadsheet.



Analysing your results

Once you have student's KS2 baselines and have input their marks into their assessments, you'll be able to see your figures in Students > Assessments > Summative Tracking > Analysis > KS4 Assessment Analysis.

You can see more about how the figures are calculated here: Calculating scores

The analysis page will include all students who have been enrolled in your school at some point during the academic year selected.

  • Blank marks won't contribute to your figures.
  • If you use Not required marks these are included in the calculations.



Scroll right in the table to see:

  • Student year group, and whether they are Pupil Premium, FSM or EAL
  • KS2 prior attainment scaled scores
  • Student Attainment 8 and Progress 8 scores
  • School Progress 8 score
  • Average Point Score (APS)
  • Whether the student has achieved 5 passes



How are the scores calculated?

Student Attainment 8 Score

This is the sum total of a student's scores across all exams sat. The score is calculated by adding up the total achieved in each subject and then dividing that total by 10. (The 8 qualifications with Maths and English counting as double). 

For example:

  • English Language: 7 (x2)
  • Mathematics: 6 (x2)
  • History: 5
  • Core Science: 5
  • Spanish: 6
  • PE: 5
  • Art: 6
  • Music: 2

7+7+6+6+5+5+6+5+6+2 = 55   

Student Progress 8 Score

To find the student's Progress 8 score, we compare their Attainment 8 score to the national average Attainment 8 score for pupils in the same prior attainment group. 

A pupil’s Progress 8 score is the difference between their actual Attainment 8 result and the average result of those in their prior attainment group.

If a student achieved an Attainment 8 score of 55 and the average Attainment 8 score for their prior attainment group was 57, their Progress 8 Score would be -2. We divide -2 by 10 (as there are 8 subjects with English and Maths being double weighted) to give an individual pupil’s Progress 8 score, which is in this example is -0.2.

Please note that there is no method currently released by the DfE for calculating Attainment 8 scores for students in year 9 and below.

School Progress 8 Score

Progress 8 is calculated for individual students so that the DfE can calculate a School Progress 8 Score. To work out the school’s Progress 8 score, add up all of the Progress 8 scores and divide by the number of students.

The average Progress 8 score across the country is 0. The government's baseline acceptable score for a school to achieve is -0.5. This would mean that students on average leave the school with half a grade less than what would be considered expected progress from where students began at the end of KS2. 

For example, the pupils in a school have an expected average grade across all of their subjects of a 4.5. The school achieves a School Progress 8 score of a 0.5. This means that on average each student achieved half a grade more than what was expected of them. Therefore this means the average grade achieved at the school was a 5. 



Therefore a positive Progress 8 score reflects that students have on average made more than expected progress whereas a negative Progress 8 score demonstrates that students have made less than expected progress. 

  • Schools that achieve a Progress 8 score above a 0 - (for example +0.5) have demonstrated that on average schools have made more than expected progress and have achieved half a grade higher than was forecast for them based on their KS2 prior attainment.
  • On the other hand, if a school achieves less than -0.5, e.g. -1, on average students have made one grade less expected progress in comparison to their peers of the same ability nationally. 
Was this article helpful?
3 out of 11 found this helpful
I'm still stuck!



Article is closed for comments.