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Parents 'largely do not understand Progress 8', say teachers

23/01/2017 Joanna

The vast majority of teachers do not believe that parents of pupils have a good understanding of the government's new Progress 8 performance measure.

An online poll conducted by TES has indicated that only one per cent of teachers think parents understand the new accountability criteria collated under the Progress 8 system, meaning they are unlikely to be able to make sense of the school performance reports released this week.

Progress 8 measures students' progress between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 across eight key subjects, showing whether they are performing to the expected level based on a value-added measure that uses Key Stage 2 English and Maths as a baseline. It compares schools with similar intakes and is designed to ensure all schools offer a broad, well-balanced curriculum.

Adopted last year, the system is in the spotlight this week, as schools across the country find out their Progress 8 scores for the first time. The new measure replaces the previous assessment of five A* to C GCSE grades.

However, TES's snap survey of nearly 1,000 respondents indicated that 90 per cent of teachers believe parents in their area still do not understand the measure, with a further nine per cent saying parents were unclear on several aspects.

Duncan Baldwin, deputy director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said this lack of understanding may undermine the usefulness of Progress 8 reports, as parents are likely "to struggle to know what this means", describing the measure as potentially very confusing".

The Department for Education has made online resources available explaining the Progress 8 system and talking through how to interpret scores, but this survey indicates that more progress may be required before the new approach is broadly understood.

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