The revised Key Stage 4 performance tables for 2019 have sparked a number of different headlines in terms of what the results claim to show.
The most important takeaway for schools in the region is that the tables continue to use Progress 8 as a measure, contributing to the ongoing and pervasive false narrative around under-performing schools in the region. There continues to be a lack of nuance in the conversations around school performance, and the use of reporting measures which do not look at the context schools are working in.
FFT Datalab has highlighted how the data continues to show a North-South divide, as it uses Progress 8 rather than Contextualised Progress 8 scores, which take into account the percentage of pupils with a first language other than English, the percentage of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium, and the average Key Stage 2 point score of the cohort.
Using Progress 8 alone as a measure fails to take into account pupil characteristics such as the level of deprivation students in the North East face. When looking at Progress 8 without this context, the North continues to underperform in comparison to other regions.
However, FFT Datalab shows when deprivation is taken into account using Contextualised Progress 8 scores, the North East performs at least as well the rest of the country, if not better.