Progress 8 in 2023 – How well did the Alps customer numbers measure up to the DfE numbers?

1st January 2024

Now that Alps is a growing presence at KS4, in August we were able to generate and release customer-based Attainment 8 and Progress 8 figures. Not only did our schools receive their high quality, easy to use Alps analysis but also, for the first time, we offered their KS4 Attainment 8 and Progress 8 scores in Connect.

In this blog we explore the Attainment 8 average table for KS2 prior attainment groups, comparing the figures generated by Alps from customer data with the provisional DfE estimates. We then present an overview of how the resulting Progress 8 numbers generated by Alps in August measure up against the unvalidated Progress 8 numbers published by the DfE in October 2023.

Our conclusions:

  • The Attainment 8 averages generated from Alps client data show a strong correlation with the provisional DfE data
  • Therefore, the Progress 8 numbers released into Connect in the week after KS4 results day closely matched the unvalidated DfE values


Generation of an Alps client Attainment 8 estimate table

In July 2022, we responded to customer requests to include Progress 8 in the Alps Connect platform. We recognise the importance of Progress 8 in the determination of school improvement priorities and in the review of examination outcomes. By adding Progress 8 to Connect, we ensured that leaders had a holistic overview of performance as we emerged from the disrupted pandemic years. Following the 2022 results season, we generated a series of client-based benchmarks including a full KS4 value-added benchmark. Feedback from school and college leaders was overwhelmingly positive as they navigated the unique context post-pandemic.

In August 2023, we generated an estimated Attainment 8 average table for KS2 prior attainment groups based on the data that schools and colleges had submitted to Alps. This estimate table was applied to the 2023 examination gradepoint in Connect and a Progress 8 number was generated.

School and college leaders were able to view and use this Progress 8 number from the week after results day. Our Progress 8 methodology follows the DfE guidelines as set out in the Secondary accountability measures documentation. In addition, we provided a full client value-added benchmark at KS4.

In October 2023, the DfE published the provisional Attainment 8 averages. We were interested to compare the Attainment 8 average we had generated in August from Alps clients with the national data.

Figure 1 shows the ‘fit’ between the two values across KS2 prior attainment groups.

Figure 1:

The Alps client Attainment 8 average, shown by the green line, is almost identical to that of the DfE, shown by the red line in fig 1. We were confident that this would mean the Progress 8 number generated in Connect in August would compare favourably to the unvalidated DfE figure published in October 2023, for individual schools and colleges.

Figure 2 plots the Connect Progress 8 number generated from client data in August, against the unvalidated DfE Progress 8 number, as shown in the school performance tables.

Figure 2:

There is a strong correlation for the majority of schools and colleges in the Alps family. It is worth noting that we have spot checked the outliers, and we found for these, there were discrepancies between the source data submitted to Alps Connect and the cohort data published on the DfE performance table website.


We were delighted with the number of our schools who submitted their KS4 data promptly on results day, to allow us to generate the figures so quickly. For the vast majority of our schools and colleges the Progress 8 number generated gave an accurate estimate of the unvalidated Progress 8 number, allowing leaders to gauge KS4 performance on this measure. For the few that did not closely match, when we investigated, this was explained by core differences between the source data sent to Alps and used by the DfE.

For Alps, this represents a significant milestone for our narrative at KS4. We know that we have a platform which provides our schools with powerful Alps value-added analysis and tools at a strategic, subject and student level. The addition of the performance measures and specifically Progress 8, gives our schools the added dimension of  accountability data they can trust, in the timely manner they need. We look forward to delivering same high-quality service in 2024.

We aim to give our schools, colleges and groups comprehensive, easy to use analysis to enable them to identify student performance strengths and weaknesses, to then put in place pro-active strategies for improvement. The feedback we consistently receive is that our Alps analysis is easy to use for all, and therefore makes a real difference to performance outcomes. With the addition of robust Attainment 8 and Progress 8 figures in our KS4 analysis, we are confident that we deliver the full, holistic analysis to support our schools, colleges and groups with their important work to improve the life chances of students.

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