What is discounting?

Discounting is an important part of the Department for Education’s secondary and 16-18 school/college performance measures, defining when the performance points of a qualification are discounted against another.

The discounting system affects the calculation of performance measures for a school or college in the performance tables. It does not alter the awards an individual pupil has achieved or limit the qualifications they can take.

Why was discounting introduced?

Discounting ensures that, where a pupil has taken two or more qualifications with an overlap in curriculum, the performance tables only give credit once for teaching a single course of study.

Discounting may be required in a number of situations, for example:

  • a pupil resits a qualification before the end of key stage 4/advanced level study, possibly with a different awarding organisation. Discounting then ensures that only one result is counted in the performance tables calculations and measures.
  • the school/college provides a single course of study but then enters the pupil for two or more very similar qualifications. Discounting ensures that the achievement from this single set of teaching hours is counted only once.

Discounting is governed by the allocation of discount codes to qualifications with similar curriculum content. Two qualifications will discount if they have the same discount code. Codes may be updated at any time during the year to improve the accuracy of discounting. This can affect the current cycle without prior notice.

To find out more about how the discounting process works, download the detailed guidance for secondary schools here and the guidance for 16-18 schools/colleges here

Discounting changes

In 2014 performance tables, key stage 4 discounting changed due to the introduction of the early entry policy which means that only a pupil’s first entry in a subject area will count in performance tables. Previously, a pupil’s best entry in a subject area would have counted. The early entry policy applies to English Baccalaureate subjects in the 2014 performance tables, and all subjects in the 2015 performance tables.

For more details on the early entry policy, download the guide here

Key Stage 4 Discount Codes

The list of qualifications that count in secondary performance tables is published each year, along with their discount codes.

The list of secondary qualifications and discount codes for 2014-2018 can be found here or in the RAISEonline library here