Academic progress should become the main measure used to determine whether primary schools in England are performing well, according to a new report.
Think tank CentreForum claims 'pupil progress' should be the principal league table measure for primary schools in England, as it is fairer on those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Proposals made by the coalition government in 2014 mean primary schools in England will be held to account by two new league table measures to replace the longstanding attainment measure.
Under the more rigorous regime, 85 per cent of pupils in every primary school will be expected to achieve level 4 in their SATs exams at age 11, replacing the current 65 per cent threshold.
An alternate measure tracking pupils' progress over time will be used to judge the institutions that do not meet the more exacting standard.
This will involve measuring youngsters progress made by age 11 against a baseline assessment made in the first half-term of reception class.
CentreForum argues that progress should be the main focus of the government's attempts to raise standards in schools.
James Kempton, associate director of education and social mobility at CentreForum, said: "Attainment thresholds always mean that some pupils’ success is more important to the school’s league table position than others. That is not fair and at odds with the government’s own aims for the education system."
According to the think tank, youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds are among those who are more likely to be neglected under the attainment threshold measure.
In addition, only one in ten primary schools currently meet the proposed attainment floor, meaning progress is likely to be the dominant metric anyway.
Although concerns have been raised about the reliability and fairness of a baseline assessment for measuring progress, CentreForum claimed these do not mean the measure could not be implemented.
However, it stated that school leaders, teachers and parents need to be better informed, and called on the government to "provide clear, defensible evidence that the baseline assessment is valid, fair and reliable".
Posted by Alan Douglas