Back in October 2013 (pdf), updated in January 2014 (pdf) and again in March 2014 (pdf), the government published the details for the new **Attainment 8** measure. Although we still don’t know exactly how the related **Performance 8** measure will be calculated, we do know that it will be based on difference between your school’s Attainment 8 and the national average Attainment 8 measure. Reading the DfE’s documents above makes the calculation sound complex and confusing, but it is (relatively) easy to calculate your own school’s Attainment 8 measure using SIMS Assessment Manager. Here’s a video and some written instructions:

In this example I’m continuing to use old-style GCSE grades. The final performance measure will use the new style GCSE grades 1-8 but the same principles will apply. The video above gives a good overview of the process.

### Part 1: Add All Your Qualifying Subjects into a Template

- List all your GCSE subjects in a new template. You might already have a template that lists every GCSE subject for a particular resultset. Create a marksheet based on it for the whole year group.
- Add any non GCSE subjects. This example will also work for Pass/Merit/Distinction BTEC grades so long as you use a BTEC gradeset where the value of a Pass reflects the equivalent GCSE points score (usually 40 points).

### Part 2: Double Up Maths and English

The highest of English Literature or Language will count double. The remaining, second highest grade, can be counted as one of the EBacc qualifying subjects.

- Use a MAX formula to look at both Lang and Lit, identify the highest by entering a 1 into the MAX box

- Use another MAX formula to identify the second highest of the two grades (note the value 2 in the Max box – hence the second highest value will be returned).

- The guidance says we can only double MAX English 1 if a pupil has taken both Language AND Literature. Here’s the clever bit: use a GRADE TALLY COLUMNS formula that looks across both the language and literature grades for any grade between a G and an A*:

- The grade tally column above will now contain a 1 if the pupil has an A*-G in just one of the two columns, or a 2 if the pupil is doing both English subjects.
- Now you can use a MULTIPLY formula to multiply MAX English 1 by the Grade Tally Language and Literature column (above). Hence if the pupil is only doing one of the two subjects then MAX English 1 is only multiplied by 1, or by 2 if the the pupil does both.
- Double up the Maths grade, also using a MULTIPLY fomula (call it ‘Maths x2’)

### Part 3: Use Six MAX Formulas across all your EBacc subjects.

After counting for English and Maths, there are 3 remaining ‘slots’ for the other Ebacc subjects, so we use a set of six further MAX formulas in turn to calculate the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th highest grades in the list of Ebacc subjects. Why six MAX Formulas rather than three? Well, eBacc subjects that aren’t counted in this section of Attainment 8 can be counted in the final ‘other qualifications’ slot, so we’ll use them later.

- Here’s the first MAX formula (note the 1 in the Max box)…

- …and here’s the sixth and final MAX formula (note the 6 in the Max box). You’ll need a MAX formula for all the values in between.

### Part 4: Use the MAX formula to calculate the top three ‘other’ (non Ebacc) qualifications

- Create another three MAX formulas that look across all the qualifying non-Ebacc grades and (here’s the important bit)
**also include the 4th, 5th and 6th highest Ebacc grades and the second highest English grade (MAX English 2) in this list**. Here’s the first MAX formula (the screen crop has missed out the MAX Ebacc 6 grades and some of the other grades – but you’ll get the idea):

### Part 5: Add Together and Divide by 10

We need to add everything together, so use a SUM formula to add the following columns

- Maths x2
- Max English 1 x2
- Max EBacc 1
- Max Ebacc 2
- Max Ebacc 3
- Max Other 1
- Max Other 2
- Max Other 3

- Next, divide by 10 using a DIVISION formula:

### Part 6: Attainment 8 Finished (Put the Kettle On)

And that’s it. On your systems I recommend that you use a MARKS TO GRADE formula to convert the average points score into a grade aspect. You might also want to save the average point score itself into a marks integer aspect (remember the average points score will contain more ‘fine detail’ than just a grade – for example an average points score of 40.01 is ‘just’ a C grade but a score of 45.99 is almost a B grade).

Of course, these calculations are working out each individual pupil’s Attainment 8 measure. The DfE want schools to use the average across the whole cohort. So don’t forget to use the ‘summary’ button on your marksheet to display the average Attainment 8 score as both a two decimal place APS and a nearest whole grade.

This article was updated on 17th May to include formulas to selectively double the English score only if both Language AND Literature are being taken by a pupil. Thanks to Gary Skelton and James who suggested this in the comments section of this post.

And revised again on the 20th May to remove the suggestion that we divide by 9 if English isn’t doubled.

Many thanks to G Gardner at Northfleet Technology College and tombry on Edugeek for helping with the development of these marksheets. As ever, contact me if you need any more help and remember I’m also available for consultancy.

Very useful and easy instructions.

English can only be double weighted if both English Language and English Literature GCSEs have been taken. If a pupil takes English Language only then it will be single weighted in the English and maths section.

Yes – agreed. At this stage many schools are only offering the two subjects together. I haven’t tried it yet buy you could use an IF-THEN-ELSE formula to double the highest English score only if the the lowest English score was less than zero (i.e. didn’t exist). You’d then have to adjust the overall value to divide by (currently 10 but would be 9 if English isn’t doubled?).

Or, use a Grade Tally by Columns formula using all possible grades. It’ll return 0,1 or 2

I’ve not given this a go yet but I know it’s going to be really useful! Been scratching my head over this for a while.

I’ve only recently (in the past year) started the role as a Data Manager and I would just like to say that your website has been invaluable to me.

Thanks

No problem – glad to help!

Hi David,

I was under the impression that the ‘extra’ English result (Max English 2) goes in the Other box and not the EBACC box?

Regards

Gary

Thanks Gary,you’re right. I’ve amended the instructions (and will amend the video later)

Insert a grade tally column after Max Eng 1 and Max Eng 2. Multiply the Max Eng 1 by the grade tally column instead of simply by 2. Therefore if only one english course taken then times by 1, but if 2 entered then times by 2. Problem solved of double weighting for english.

Thanks James, that’s a good way of doing it.

Hi David. The attainment 8 value needs to be calculated on a 1-8 scale not the current 16-58 scale. This is because the gap between a U (or an empty slot) and a G is 1 grade. The current system it works out as over 2 grades. It’s easy to convert:

After the sum of all the grades you need to subtract 10 points for each grade above a U (doubling up for English and maths where applicable), and divide the new total by 60.

I’ll leave you to expertly write that into SIMS.

Ian

That’s a good point (and I will post more later!). For now, especially for schools that are analysing expected or target KS4 grades, the difference between a U grade and a G grade isn’t vital (not many schools set a U grade target!). For schools analysing current ‘working at’ grades this might be more of an issue.

Just working through constructing a marksheet following your instructions. Looking at the DfE Progress 8 Technical guide it looks like GCSE Core Science is included in the EBacc qualifications. Is this correct?

I’m not sure but there is a definitive list of qualifications by exam boards that count towards the Ebacc here: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/secondary_13/documents.html

Hi David

Great article, for the e Bacc calculation, you use 6 MAX calculations yet have more than 6 subjects, some of our students follow, 3 sciences, 2 languages, both history and geography, should I use 7 MAX calculations and if a student only follows 6 would MAX7 just show as zero?

Just thinking off the top of my head here but there are 3 slots for Ebacc subjects and three slots for ‘other’ subjects. The ‘other’ subjects slots could be filled by the 3 lowest Ebacc subjects 4 to 6. But there are no more slots to fill at this point so I can’t see the seventh Ebacc subject ever qualifying. But i could be wrong!

Hi David. This looks great but having built it I am struggling with the ‘Other’ part. At my school out of 10 Ebacc subjects, students study anywhere from 3-7 . I have found an issue with the ‘Other 3’ because it is using subjects already included in the Ebacc 1 – 3 part and subjects should only be counted once in P8. Any ideas anyone please?

Hi Emma, I wonder if you’re including some of the same aspects in Max EBacc 1-6 as in Max Other 1 – 3? That’s the only scenario where I can imagine the same subject being counted twice. The Max Other 1-3 columns should only include the Max Ebacc 4-6 columns and the remaining non-Ebacc subjects.

Hello. I’ve attempted to replicate an excel spreadsheet in a SIMs template (thanks for the tips, David) to measure the sum of Attainment 8 Targets (Tgts) and Expected Grades (EXGs) to get a difference value. Our EXGs are whole grades (A*=10, A=9 etc) and our Tgts are Sub-grades (A*1=10.7, A*2=10.3, A*3=10, A1=9.7, A2=10.3, A3=9 etc). For next year, we are going to convert to grade sets where A*1=8.something and A*=8 etc. The problem is that, either way, the sub-grade Trgt values total (currently up to 107) cannot be compared to the EXG values total (currently up to 100). The difference between Full marks Tgts and Full marks EXGs needs to be zero. We used percentages but these did not give exact results (compared to the excel spreadsheet). PS : We need to have our Targets, termly Interim Targets and termly Cumulative working at Grades as sub-grades with different values so that our NESTED/IF/THEN/ELSE ‘alerts’ work. Can you say if there is a way to ‘round down to integer’ in SIMS Assessment?

Also, to change to the new grade values, we will be cloning and changing Aspects in our existing Year 10 and 11 Templates so the Aspect substituting functionality will be very welcome. Are you able to confirm if we’ll be able to substitute aspects which are used in formulas?

A colleague spotted your blog yesterday and spread the word. It’s already proved very helpful. Thanking you in advance for any tips you may have.

Hi Trudy, I’m working on a post that shows how to use LOOKUP formulas to convert from the old GCSE grades to the new GCSE points. I think (if I understand your post correctly) that it will help. Hope to publish it sometime in the next couple of weeks. As for rounding down – have you tried using a MARKS TO GRADE formula on a grade set? If you use a MARKS TO GRADE formula on (say) a standard GCSE gradeset (where C=40 points) if you input a value of 42 points, it will automatically ’round down’ and output a C grade. You might be able to use this approach?

Very easy to follw. How have you accounted for discounted subjects??

Hi Tracey, There’s no provision for discounted subjects. I’ve looked at discounting before and concluded that the rules are too complex to include in a marksheet like this. You can always delete discounted grades manually. Not ideal though. Maybe some readers of this blog can suggest a way?

Your posts are incredibly useful, thank you, David. About your double counting for the English, I see that you have said to double count the best, Lang or Lit, as long as there is an A*-G grade in both. I think I’ve actually uncovered that as long as they get a U, then the best grade will count double. Small thing but quite an interesting point which could be used tactically by some, possibly not for the benefit of students.

Thanks, very useful.

What about Science?

I assume that if they only take 1 Science that this cannot be added to the Ebacc tally?

One of the good things about Progress 8 is that (almost) everything counts. So even if they are doing a single science GCSE I would say it still counts in the eBacc ‘bucket’. Does anyone else reading this blog know any different?

I could be wrong but I think there is a limit of 4 sciences so if a student did Physics/Chemistry/Biology/Computer Science then the 4th grade could not be used in group 3 even if it was the high enough.

No any surplus Science would count in the Open Group, there is no limitation

Great guide thanks David. I recommend editing the column headings of the Ebacc subjects to start ‘Eb’ and of the Open subjects and 4th, 5th and 6th EBacs to start ‘Op’. That way when you put in the Max formulas all the columns you want to select are listed together.

Great tip! Generally, naming your columns with well thought out column headers is one of the top tips I give to anyone wanting to create a proper assessment system.