Closing the Gap? Trends in Educational Attainment and Disadvantage

Andrews, J., Hutchinson, J. & Robinson, D. (2017)

This report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) considers the attainment gaps between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers, as well as looking at gaps associated with other pupil characteristics. It highlights both the progress which has been made in narrowing gaps over the last decade, and the significant challenges which remain. The report looks at the performance of pupils who undertook the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, Key Stage 2 assessments or GCSEs (or equivalents) in the summer of 2016. It includes all pupils in all state-funded schools, including academies, free schools, local authority-maintained schools and special schools. This report does not compare the performance of different types of schools. Rather than focusing on attainment thresholds, such as GCSE attainment, the report examines the attainment of disadvantaged pupils within the whole attainment distribution. All pupils are ranked from the highest to the lowest. The average (mean) rank of the group being considered is then calculated, as is the average (mean) rank of other pupils. The attainment gap is then the difference between these ranks. To aid interpretation this is then converted into months of progress.