In this post we look at the Key Stage 2 measures that can be used to compare pupil performance and progress in primary schools. Key Stage 2 covers primary school pupils aged 7 to 11. In 2016, year 6 pupils were the first group of children to be tested under the new national curriculum, which is arguably more rigorous than the previous tests. As well as these new tests, the measures used to judge the progress of children changed also; any results pre-2016 cannot therefore be compared with post 2016 results.

These new measures reward schools for making progress with all their pupils… They are fairer to schools in challenging circumstances, as they recognise a school that is doing a good job with an intake with low prior attainment.

UK Government

The key measures available for 2016 onwards are all displayed in Locrating and are as follows:

Average scaled score in reading/in maths

This score is known as the ‘scaled score’. The score is an average for pupils in the school. The expected standard is a score of 100 or more. The higher standard is 110 or more. Scaled scores replace the old Key Stage 2 levels, where pupils were expected to reach Level 4 by age 11. The range of scaled scores available is:

  • 80 is the lowest scaled score awarded
  • 100 is the expected scaled score
  • 103 is the national average scaled score for reading and maths
  • 110 or more is the higher scaled score (top 5% of pupils)
  • 120 is the highest scaled score awarded
  • Percentage of pupils meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and maths

    Pupils are ‘meeting the expected standard’ if they achieve a ‘scaled score’ of 100 or more in their reading and maths tests, and their teacher assesses them as ‘working at the expected standard’ or better in writing. Children also take an English grammar punctuation and spelling test, but the results of these are not included in the

    Percentage of pupils achieving at a higher standard in reading, writing and maths

    Pupils are ‘achieving at a higher standard’ if they achieve a ‘scaled score’ of 110 or more in their reading and maths tests, and their teacher assesses them as ‘working at a greater depth within the expected standard’ in writing. This standard was set for the first time in 2016 by the Department for Education to provide information about pupils across England achieving in the top 5%.

    It is difficult to say with certainty how much the progress scores are down to the school (which may have scored higher with a different group of pupils) and how much is down to the pupils (for example some may have performed well at any school).

    Progress in reading, writing and maths

    Progress scores are a new measure which indicates how the well a school is progressing pupils based on pupils of a similar level in other schools across England. Scores are calculated by comparing the Key Stage 2 test and assessment results of pupils at this school with the results of pupils in schools across England who started with similar assessment results at the end of the previous Key Stage, i.e. Key Stage 1 (age 7). The government says: “These new measures reward schools for making progress with all their pupils… They are fairer to schools in challenging circumstances, as they recognise a school that is doing a good job with an intake with low prior attainment.”

  • A score above zero means pupils made more progress, on average, than pupils across England who got similar results at the end of Key Stage 1.

  • A score below zero means pupils made less progress, on average, than pupils across England who got similar results at the end of Key Stage 1.

  • A negative progress score does not mean pupils made no progress, or the school has failed, rather it means pupils in the school made less progress than other pupils across England with similar results at the end of Key Stage 1.

  • The majority of schools have progress scores between -5 and +5.

  • It is difficult to say with certainty how much the progress scores are down to the school (which may have scored higher with a different group of pupils) and how much is down to the pupils (for example some may have performed well at any school). The Department of Education publishes confidence intervals to reflect this uncertainty. We do not show confidence intervals on this site. To see them click the link titled "Full exam performance data and other useful information" under the schools Key Stage 2 results.

    For a more detailed explanation of the above, see Scaled scores at Key Stage 2, Key Stage 2 teacher assessment and Primary school accountability.