Are you looking at Attainment 8 scores and wondering why the 2017 results are so much lower than 2016?
The new GCSE grading structure means that Attainment 8 scores in 2017 will be lower than 2016 for the same performance. The overall impact of this nationally is to reduce the average points scored by over 11% or a reduction of approximately 5 points in Attainment 8 scores.
To get a year-on-year comparison, 2016 results should be rebased using the 2017 scores.
The Government introduced the revised GCSE grades to provide greater granularity in the higher grades. They wanted to distinguish between those in the top grades of A/A*. The new grades (1-9) have been implemented in English and maths for 2017. These grades now align with the points used for calculating Attainment 8 scores.
However, the new points don’t directly align to the old grades. There is greater granularity of grades above an old C but less below as shown here:
For unreformed GCSEs (i.e. subjects other than English and maths), the points have been revised for 2017 so that they align better with the new 1-9 grades.
You can see from this:
- The maximum points available have increased from 8 to 9 for reformed GCSEs and from 8 to 8.5 for unreformed GCSEs
- Grades A and G get the same points
- Grades B to F get fewer points in 2017 compared to 2016.
Impact of the new structure
To understand the impact of this, we need to look at the percentage of pupils receiving each grade.
In 2016, 74.5% of grades achieved nationally were between B and F. So, in 74.5% of cases, achieving the same result in 2017 would give fewer points than 2016.
Similarly, 17.1% of grades in 2016 were A or G. These grades would give the same amount of points in 2017.
Only 7.2% of grades in 2016 were an A* which, if achieved in 2017, would give more points.
The overall impact of this nationally is to reduce the average points scored by over 11% or a reduction of approximately 5 points in Attainment 8 scores.
What does this mean for schools?
For all except the top schools – those achieving more A*s than B to F combined – the revised points would result in a lower Attainment 8 score without any reduction in actual performance. Broadly, if a school’s reduction in Attainment 8 score is less than 5 points then performance in 2017 is better than 2016.
Across the schools we collect results day information, 92% have a reduction in their Attainment 8 score (of over 3 points on average). However, these schools on average achieved a 4-point improvement in the percentage achieving the EBacc.
To properly understand how an Attainment 8 score in 2017 compares to the previous year, re-calculate the 2016 score using the 2017 points. As an alternative, use other indicators for example percentage achieving A*-C in English and maths in 2016 compared to the percentage achieving 9-4 in 2017.
Attainment 8 scores can be compared relative to other schools and nationally when the Performance Tables are released on 12th October 2017.