Last reviewed on 26 November 2021
School types: All · School phases: Primary, Secondary
Ref: 8576

Pupils are grouped as high, middle or low attainers in the Key Stage (KS) 2 and KS4 performance tables, based on their prior attainment in KS1 and KS2 respectively. Read about the changes to how prior attainment bands are calculated in relation to scaled scores.

What is prior attainment?

Prior attainment is used to assess pupil progress – e.g. between Key Stage (KS) 1 and KS2, and then between KS2 and KS4. 

In KS2 and KS4 performance tables, pupils are placed into 'prior attainment bands' – this means categorising them as high, middle and low attainers based on their prior attainment in KS1 (for KS2 performance tables) and KS2 (for KS4 performance tables). 

Attainment calculated using 'scaled scores' not 'levels'

In 2016, scaled SATs scores replaced previous National Curriculum levels at KS1 and KS2. This means the first cohort of pupils whose KS2 prior attainment is calculated based on scaled KS1 scores was due to be included in the 2020 performance tables, while for KS4 it was 2021. 

Also, the DfE