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All approved qualifications and the new scoring system

The 2004 Secondary School Achievement and Attainment Tables (formerly Performance Tables) will include all qualifications approved for use pre-16 at Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2 (except graded examinations which will follow in 2005). AS levels taken early will also be counted.

The following sections explain the changes

All approved qualifications

Qualifications are accredited to the National Qualifications Framework and subsequently approved by the Secretary of State. Qualifications approved for use pre-16 include general, vocational, and occupational categories and can be found in Section96.

The new scoring system

A new scoring system (developed by QCA) has been adopted to accommodate the wider range of qualifications.

The new scoring system uses a different scale, as the following table illustrates:

Figure 1 - Old and new points (GCSEs).

Grade Old Points New Points
Level 2
A* 8 58
A 7 52
B 6 46
C 5 40
Level 1
D 4 34
E 3 28
F 2 22
G 1 16

The second component to the new scoring system is a qualification's contribution to threshold (expressed as a percentage).

i.e. Level 2 Threshold = 5 GCSE A*-C (or equivalent) = 100%
Level 1 Threshold = 5 GCSE A*-G (or equivalent) = 100%

Using this formula, a GCSE A*-C is equal to one fifth, or 20%, of the Level 2 threshold. In the same way, all qualifications to be included in achievement and attainment tables have been assigned a contribution to threshold percentage.

Level 2 qualifications contribute to both the Level 2 and Level 1 thresholds (whereas Level 1 qualifications only contribute to the Level 1 threshold).

While there is no Entry Level threshold as such, Entry Level qualifications will contribute to the average point score, value added calculations, and 'achieved at least an entry level' indicator (formerly no passes indicator).

Performance figures (point scores and contribution to threshold percentages) can be found on QCA's OpenQuals website


Please note: From 2004, capping will be applied only to the average point score within value added calculations (KS2 - Age 15 and KS3 - Age 15 VA measures); the standalone total average point score will now be uncapped. Capping for value added will continue to be at the level of 8 GCSEs (or equivalent).

For a more detailed explanation (including examples) of the capping procedure, please view the following document - capping (MSword 63Kb)


Please note: discounting procedures are followed by the Department to preclude the counting of 2 or more subjects with the same (or similar) content.

Only qualifications within the same family will discount one another, with the higher level qualification counting ahead of a lower level qualification in the same family. The following table sets out families of qualifications, by level.

Table 1 - qualification families

Qualification Families in the 2004 Achievement and Attainment Tables
General General
Occupational Vocationally
Key Skills Vocational
GCE AS VCE AS NVQ Level 2 VRQ Level 2
or BTEC First
Key Skills L2 Intermediate
Language Unit
(Full course)
Full GNVQ,
NVQ Level 1 VRQ Level 1 Key Skills L1 NVQ Language
Unit at Level 2
Short Course
      Foundation GNVQ
language Unit
Entry Level 3 GNVQ Part 1,
      NVQ Language
Unit at Level 1
Entry Level 2 Full GNVQ,
Entry Level 1 GNVQ Part 1,



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