Last reviewed on 1 October 2019
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 35775

Attainment and progress describe pupil performance. You'll usually hear them mentioned together but they're not interchangeable. Understand the difference between the two with our guide.

If you're just getting familiar with pupil performance data, read this article to get the basics. 


  • Attainment: the standards that pupils reach, often measured in assessment and examination results. Attainment results are usually defined as grades, scores or levels achieved by pupils
  • Progress: pupils' achievements over a period of time, for example from Key Stage 2 (KS2) to KS4. A pupil’s progress will take into account their attainment at the end of the previous key stage, and the progress they have made since that point when compared to pupils with similar starting points

These are based on guidance from the Department for Education