Prior attainment: definition and summary

Prior attainment is used to work out pupils’ progress scores. Be clear on the process and which pupils are categorised as high, middle or low attainers, so you're clear when analysing your data.

Last reviewed on 4 August 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: Primary, SecondaryRef: 8576
  1. Changes and delays for the 2021/22 cohort
  2. What is prior attainment?
  3. KS2
  4. KS4

Changes and delays for the 2021/22 cohort Attainment is calculated using 'scaled scores' not 'levels' In 2016, scaled SATs scores replaced previous National Curriculum levels at KS1 and KS2. Outcomes for 2021/22 will be the first cohort to have progress measures with KS1 outcomes reported against the new assessment frameworks. The pandemic delayed progress measures The first cohort of pupils whose KS2 prior attainment is calculated based on KS1 outcomes from the new frameworks was due to be included in the 2020 performance tables, while for KS4 it was 2021. However, due to the pandemic and the cancellation of exams, the Department for Education (DfE) didn't publish performance tables in 2020 or 2021 – no progress measures were created for these cohorts. This is explained on pages 15 and 16