What accountability measures are now used to judge attainment and progress in primary schools for the National Curriculum?

Government response to Primary Assessment consultation published September 2017 and Measuring progress in primary schools: update published April 2018.

See also:

Primary school accountability

Key Stage 2 2018 results 

Key Stage 1 statutory assessment

Key Stage 2 statutory assessment


Purpose of Floor and Coasting standards

The guidance on primary assessment and accountability (see above) states “Where a school is below the floor or coasting standards, but is not judged inadequate, the RSC will not use the Secretary of State’s powers to issue an academy order or a warning notice. Instead, the floor and coasting standards have been calculated in 2018/19 solely for the Department for Education to identify schools that might benefit from support” (p.7).

There are no floor or coasting standards for infant or first schools, special schools or pupil referral units.

The School and College Performance Tables website is updated annually with current and future definitions.

The 2013 consultation response on reforming assessment and accountability in primary schools refers to a floor standard which includes 85% reaching the expected standard, but currently the attainment component of the floor target is 65%.  85% is the threshold measure for coasting schools (see below).

Until alternatives are in place (2026 -7 at the earliest), the progress standard will be measured from Key Stage 1.

Floor standard definition for 2018

In 2018, schools are above the floor if pupils make sufficient progress across all of reading, writing and mathematics (see below) or if more than 65% of them achieve the national standard in reading, writing and mathematics.  If only one subject is below the progress threshold, the school is below the floor only if that score is significantly low.  Schools are above the floor if they meet eitherthe progress or the attainment threshold.  See Primary school accountability in 2018

Progress threshold in floor standard

  • The precise level of ‘sufficient progress’ is calculated using a value-added measure from KS1 to KS2 in each of reading, writing and maths compared with the scores of pupils with the same Key Stage 1 results.  In 2018, a school is above the progress element of the floor if progress was at least -5 in English reading, -5 in mathematics and -7 in English writing.
  • Progress needs to be above the floor in all of reading, writing and maths.  However, as noted above, if only one subject is below the progress threshold, the school will be below the floor only if that score is significantly low.

Attainment threshold in floor standard

  • This is based on the proportion of pupils reaching the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths.   To reach the expected standard, each pupil will need a scaled score of 100+ in reading and maths, and to have met the expected standard in writing.  The attainment floor will be 65% in a school reaching the expected standard in all subjects.
  • The test development framework states that a particular scaled score “reflects the same level of attainment in one year as in the previous year, having adjusted for any differences in difficulty of the test.”


In addition to floor targets, there are standards for coasting schools.  In March 2016, the Government responded to a consultation on Intervening in failing, underperforming and coasting schools and confirmed its approach in subsequent guidance (see Floor Standards above)

The coasting definition is based on three years of data, using the same performance measures that underpin the floor standards.  For 2018,a primary school falls within the coasting definition if, based on revised data for all of 2016, 2017 and 2018:  

  • fewer than 85% of pupils achieved the expected standard at the end of primary school; and • average progress made by pupils was less than -2.5 in English reading, -2.5 in mathematics or -3.5 in English writing.

A school had to be below the coasting threshold in all three years to fall within the overall coasting definition.

The latest details are contained in Primary school accountability in 2018.


Performance tableswill continue.  Headline performance measures for 2018 are listed below:

  • Average progress in reading, writing and maths;
  • Percentage reaching the expected standard in reading, writing and maths at the end of Key Stage 2;
  • Average scaled scores of pupils in reading and maths in their end of Key Stage 2 assessments;
  • Percentage of pupils who achieve a higher standard in all areas at the end of Key Stage 2. The ‘high standard’ is a scaled score of 110 in reading and maths, and achieving greater depth in writing;

Additional data is published for individual subjects and for specific pupil groups, e.g. disadvantaged pupils, girls and boys, those with EAL and prior attainment groups (if there were more than 5 in a group).

In the KS2 Performance Tables, schools can be compared to similar schools in terms of average KS1 results of the KS2 cohort.

The DfE has changed methodology when calculating the school progress score. “We now limit how negative a pupil’s progress score can be when calculating the school average.  These pupils still have large negative scores (to reflect that the pupils have made much less progress than other pupils in the same prior attainment group as them), but the disproportionate effect they have on a school’s score has been reduced”. Primary School Accountability: Technical Guide (page 15)

All schools are required to publish end of Key Stage 2 assessment outcomes on their websites: What maintained schools must publish online.

Infant Schools

Following responses to the primary assessment consultation, the DfE announced in April 2018 that end of KS1 assessments will be non-statutory for first and infant schools, as well as for all through 5-11 schools. This will not apply until children who take the new baseline assessment reach Year 2 (this will be 2022-23 at the earliest.)

The announcement (Measuring progress in primary schools) states that “In terms of the measures published, there will not be any change from the status quo for first and infant schools which do not have progress measures published now.  They will continue to be responsible for demonstrating the progress their pupils have made to Ofsted and those with an interest in school performance”.

This replaces the original plan of new accountability arrangements for infant schools in June 2014 including progress from the reception baseline.  The original announcement is in the following link: New accountability arrangements for infant schools from 2016.

Middle and Junior schools

When pupils who have not taken statutory end of KS1 assessments reach Year 6, progress measures for middle and junior schools will no longer be published.  Until then, (by 2026-7 at the earliest), they will continue to be published.

The DfE states that “We will work with sector representatives and Ofsted before providing further guidance about the types of information that schools could make available to inspectors, ahead of current progress measures being removed.”


Return to Assessment without levels: Assessment in the context of the National Curriculum