Contextual value added
Contextual value added (CVA) is a statistic used by the government of the United Kingdom to assess the performance of schools.
The statistic is intended to show the progress children have made whilst attending a particular school. Unlike statistics such as exam performance, contextual value added attempts to take into account the circumstances of children attending the school that are beyond the school's control.
The statistic works by comparing a child's performance with that of children with a similar prior performance and similar circumstances. There are three levels; Level 1 measures performance of primary age children. It measures the performance of pupils between the end of Key Stage 1 and the end of Key Stage 2. It is based around a median score of 100. Level 2 CVA measures performance of secondary schools (i.e. between the end of Key Stage 2 and the end of Key Stage 4). Unlike Level 1 CVA, Level 2 CVA is based around a median score of 1000. Level 3 CVA measures performance of post 16 pupils from the end of Key Stage 4 to the end of Key Stage 5. Like Level 2 CVA, it is measured around a median score of 1000
- Special Educational Needs
- Eligibility for free school meals.
- First language
- Whether pupils move between schools
- The age (i.e. the month they were born in) of different pupils within the year group
- Whether a pupil has been taken into care (e.g. Foster Care) at any stage
- The level of deprivation in the area the pupil lives (using the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index)
In 2009, there will additionally be bonuses provided for the inclusion of English and mathematics- these are based on a pilot which took place in 2008. 
The statistic is not without questions as to its accuracy and its use. For example, care needs to taken when making comparisons between small differences. In particular, CVA has a margin of error, and the degree of uncertainty in the score increases as the size of the cohort decreases. For example, a different set of students at the same school will almost certainly produce differing CVA scores. The nature of Contextual Value Added being averaged across the country also means that it is not possible to directly compare an individual school's score across a number of years. Some schools have also claimed that contextual value added disadvantages schools with a record of high performance.
- Guide to 2008 secondary tables, BBC News, 2009-01-20, retrieved 2009-09-05
- The Key Stage 1 to 2 CVA measure, Department for Children, Schools and Families, retrieved 2009-09-05
- Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4 (KS2-KS4) Contextual Value Added Measure (CVA), Department for Children, Schools and Families, retrieved 2009-09-05
- Key Stage 4 to Key Stage 5 Contextual Value Added Measure, Department for Children, Schools and Families, retrieved 2009-09-05
- Contextual value added characteristics, Department for Children, Schools and Families, retrieved 2009-09-05
- Technical Annex: How is a contextual value added score for a pupil calculated, DCSF, retrieved 2009-10-22
- PUBLICATION OF 2009 TEST AND EXAMINATION RESULTS IN THE SCHOOL AND COLLEGE ACHIEVEMENT AND ATTAINMENT TABLES:, DCSF, 2009-10-15, retrieved 2009-10-15
- Concerns over pupil progress data, BBC News, 2006-06-25, retrieved 2006-09-05