Attainment 8: Calculating the New Measure
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.