The BBC is reporting that ministers have been accused of shelving a new measure of school accountability before it is even introduced.
Heads fear a new, broader measure of progress, Progress 8, will be superseded by school data on English Baccalaureate entries and results.
In a consultation, the government proposes to use the percentage of pupils entered for the EBacc as a headline school league table measure.
The government said it was not intended that EBacc would replace Progress 8.
Rather it would be used alongside Progress 8 to measure school performance.
The EBacc is:
- A set of good GCSEs (grades A8 to C) in English, maths, the sciences, a language and a humanity.
- Schools have been told they should offer this range of subjects to as many pupils as possible
- The aim is to ensure the vast majority of pupils can access “a broad and balanced curriculum”
- About 39% of pupils took the EBacc last year
- Many heads say it sidelines other solid academic subjects and could be too difficult for many pupils.
Progress 8 is:
- A measure of school performance based on a pupil’s GCSE results in English and mathematics, their best grades in three other EBacc qualifications, and three more GCSEs or other approved qualifications
- It measures progress from the start of secondary school to the end of GCSEs and compares it against schools of similar character
- Scores will be demonstrated by a number between 2 and minus 2, with 0 being the average of similar schools
- It is set to replace the percentage of pupils gaining five good GCSEs, including English and maths, as the headline measure of school accountability.
National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Russell Hobby argued Progress 8 “delivered the right balance between academic rigour and breadth”.
He added: “The subjects which count towards the EBacc are not the only ones which are rigorous or useful preparation for later life; religious studies and music are both examples of demanding and useful qualifications. Given the pressures created by the Ebacc, there will be precious little time left for subjects outside the core.
“The EBacc is also a further restriction on school autonomy and another attempt to manage the education system through exam reforms and league tables, rather than investing in the resources that truly make a difference.
“Progress 8 has not even been given a chance to work before more changes are proposed – creating further turmoil in secondary education.”
In its consultation, the government reiterates its long-term aim to have 90% of pupils in all schools studying the EBacc…
So what do you make of this? Is the government using Progress 8 as a kind of Trojan horse for assessment, ultimately, by EBacc results?
Please give us your feedback in the comments or via Twitter…
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