Terms and definitions used in this website.

General comments

The data presented here cover secondary and further education in England. They come from the UK Department for Education (DfE). For further details on sources, please see the About page.

The following sections provide definitions and clarifications for the most important terms used across the site.

Number of exam entries

This gives indicates the absolute level of activity in a given qualification and subject. When looking at single subjects, it refers to the total number of entries recorded in a given year.

When looking at subject combinations (available for Line graphs and Maps), the exact defintion varies by Key Stage:

  • GCSEs: The number of students who took all of the listed subjects and gained A*-B grades in each one. (These may therefore be thought of as the group of students who, at least academically speaking, have the option of continuing to study these subjects beyond age 16.)
  • A-levels: The number of students taking all of the listed subjects regardless of the grade achieved.

Retakes of the same subject by the same student are not counted.

Proportion of cohort

The percentage of students taking a given qualification and subject. The definition of student number varies by Key Stage:

  • Key Stage 4: The number of students who concluded their Key Stage 4 study in the selected year (ie, Year 11 students only).
  • 16-18: The total number of students engaged in 16-18 study (ie, students at all stages of further education).

Note that when selecting 'All' subject, values will usually be over 100%. This reflects the fact that students take more than one subject on average.

Total attainment points

This is a measure of the aggregate amount of learning achieved in a given qualification and subject. It is calculated using the DfE's scoring systems for GCSE and A/AS-levels. Other qualifications are not currently calculated.

Attainment points per exam entry

This is a measure of average levels of attainment achieved for a given qualification and subject. It is defined as the total number of attainment points divided by the number of entries.

For reference, an A* GCSE equates to 8 points and an A* at A-level equates to 60 points.

All subjects

Selecting 'All subjects' for a given qualification includes data from every subject available in the SEEdash database (refer to the menus to see what these are).

We have omitted a small number of GCSE subjects with very low numbers of entries. For AS-levels and A-levels, we include all subjects for which information is provided in the National Pupil Database.

All subjects areas

This is the same as 'All subjects' (see above) but applies to qualification for which we have used Sector Subject Areas (SSAs) rather than idividual subjects.

Some 16-18 vocational qualifications offer very large numbers of different subjects. Instead of listing each one of these, we have instead used the Sector Subjects Areas (SSA) classifications, which groups each subject into a smaller number of categories. There are normally 15 such categories, but we have split 'Science and Mathematics' into two parts. The full list of SSAs used in SEEdash is as follows:

  • Health, Public Services and Care
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care
  • Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies
  • Construction, Planning and the Built Environment
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Retail and Commercial Enterprise
  • Leisure, Travel and Tourism
  • Arts, Media and Publishing
  • History, Philosophy and Theology
  • Social Sciences
  • Languages, Literature and Culture
  • Education and Training
  • Preparation for Life and Work
  • Business, Administration, Finance and Law

16-18 qualifications

The 16-18 qualifications presented on SEEdash are all Level 3. Lower-level 16-18 qualifications have been omitted.

School types

This always refers to the current categorisation of each school using 2016/17 data. In some cases, individual schools may have been categorised differently in the past. If so then this will not be reflected in the data presented on SEEdash.

Note also that the 'All schools' category includes every establishment that has entered students for exams – sometimes including hospitals and other atypical cases. Other categories include only schools designated by the DfE, though these may sometimes be special schools or other non-mainstream establishments.