The new measures will apply from 2016, but schools can choose to ‘opt in’ from 2015.
Every school’s floor target will be different as it will be based on progress across 8 subjects, known as ‘the basket’
‘The basket’ contains English (which will double count unless not doing Lit in which case stays as a single count), Maths and any 3 of – core science, additional science, biology, physics, chemistry, computer science, geography, history, any classical or modern language. The additional 3 may be BTeC or GCSE
It will be possible to fill ‘the basket’ without doing a science at all, or a humanity or a language and ‘the basket’ clearly gives plenty of room for specialisation. Eg. A student could do Bio, Chem, Phy, Engineering, Product Design and Business. Another could do Geog, His, Latin, Art, RE, and Sociology. ‘The basket’ does not need to be filled, but unfilled spaces will score nil.
Exams will still be graded, but the progress measure will use points with A*=8 and G=1.
A school’s floor standard will be the average expectation of progress minus 0.5 of a grade across 8 subjects. Eg if a student should get 8xA* (64), the actual floor target would be 4xA* and 4xA (60). This is averaged across all the cohort and becomes the school’s floor target.
When the cohort is in Y9 the matrix of the floor standard will be issued, based on the exams last summer and how students did then compared with their KS2 results. So we are due this during this academic year. (We are assured that government realise there will be an effect of exams ‘becoming harder’ and so they are working to factor this in.)
More than 8 in ‘the basket’ will not be counted, but less than 8 will. This means that if a student is expected on prior attainment to get 8×1 from ‘the basket’, in order for the school to a) ensure the student gets qualifications with a better currency b) ensure that the student is not a ‘drag’ on achieving the floor target, and c) provide an appropriate curriculum diet, they could only 5 within the 8 but get more than the 8 points. Eg Maths, English and 3 BTecs. (We see this as very positive news for SEN and likely to raise aspirations and achievement)
The DfE intend to put ‘a widget’ on every school’s website which gives the following information:
* Your average VA per grade (eg 0.5 or -0.5 etc)
* Your average grade in ‘the basket’ of 8 (C+, D- etc)
* Your %C+ in En and M
* Your % EBacc