Understanding the achievement and attainment tables

The following links will take you to the Department for Education website:

Primary tables

  • These provide a Value Added (VA) score that shows how much value each school has added, based on pupils' progress from Key Stage 1 (KS1), ages 6-7, to Key Stage 2 (KS2), ages 8-11. VA scores are intended to allow fairer comparisons between schools with different pupil intakes.
  • VA scores above 100 represent schools where pupils on average made more progress than similar pupils nationally, while scores below 100 represent schools where pupils made less progress.

Secondary tables

  • These give a Contextual Value Added (CVA) measure for KS2 (ages 8-11) – KS4 (ages 15-16). This score is similar to the VA one given to primary schools, based on the progress made by individual pupils between Key Stages. However, it also takes into account factors outside a school's control (such as gender and levels of deprivation) that are known to affect pupil results.
  • CVA scores above 1,000 represent schools where pupils on average made more progress than similar pupils nationally, while scores below 1,000 represent schools where pupils made less progress.

Why has the scoring system changed?

A school's results are often affected by the achievement of pupils before they come to the school. In theory, a very good school could still get relatively low exam results, because its pupils' attainment was low to start with.

Previous performance tables, based purely on comparing exam results, meant that schools with low exam results due to pupils' previous low attainment could find themselves ranked towards the bottom of league tables.

With this in mind, from 2003 the Government began to publish VA scores alongside exam results, measuring how much progress a pupils make between Key Stages. However, the score does not take into account influences on pupil attainment outside the control of the school, such as pupil poverty.

In order to measure school performance as accurately as possible, the Government piloted the Contextual Value Added (CVA) system that allows for these factors