International benchmarking with Progress Test Series


The Progress Test Series (PT Series)® for English, maths and science are standardised against the UK school population. Many international schools have asked for an international school standardisation of these assessments. However, we feel that:

  • A single representative international standardisation is difficult due to the diversity of international schools – for example curriculum, geography, number of students with English as Additional Language (EAL) differ between schools.
  • And, more importantly:•Our UK standardisations, based on a diverse student population, have proven to be relevant and reliable for many international schools.

Standard Age Score

The Standard Age Score (SAS) is based on the student’s raw score, which is then adjusted for age and scaled to a mean of 100. When comparing SAS scores, a difference of less than 3 points is not usually seen as statistically significant.


In 2018 we carried out benchmarking exercises to compare the scores achieved by thousands of international students globally against the standardisations for CAT4.


We have now also analysed PT Series scores from all our international school customers to provide useful benchmarking for your schools.

Table 1 shows the mean Standardised Age Scores (SAS) for different levels of the PT Series of assessments for English, maths and science.

The distribution of international scores for the PT Series is higher overall for international schools when compared with the UK standardisation profile. Results show that typically international school students tend to score more highly across English, Maths and, in particular, in Science.

Differences highlighted in green are significantly higher for the international sample compared with the UK. The increased size of the differential might be attributed to several factors such as value added by the teaching in these schools or higher aspirational levels.

Table 1: PT Series international benchmarks

    Mean SAS  
Progress Test International UK Difference UK v International
English PTE07 105.1 100 +5.1
PTE08 105.7 100 +5.7
PTE09 103.6 100 +3.6
PTE10 101.3 100 +1.3
PTE11 105.6 100 +5.6
PTE12 98.8 100 -1.2
PTE13 101.7 100 +1.7
PTE14 100.6 100 +0.6
Maths PTM07 105.4 100 +5.4
PTM08 103.1 100 +3.1
PTM09 103.8 100 +3.8
PTM10 104.6 100 +4.6
PTM11 101.1 100 +1.1
PTM12 105.6 100 +5.6
PTM13 105.5 100 +5.5
PTM14 109.8 100 +9.8
Science PTS08 111.1 100 +11.1
PTS09 105.1 100 +5.1
PTS10 107.5 100 +7.5
PTS11 104.3 100 +4.3
PTS13 103.9 100 +3.9
PTS14 115.1 100 +15.1


How can schools use the data?

Plan resourcing at a cohort level

Does one year group appear to be significantly below average or less able than your other year groups? Can you provide additional teaching support for this cohort?

Take advantage of the combination reports

Quickly identify students who are under performing by using the automatic combination reports for the PT Series and CAT4 together.


Set realistic but challenging targets

PT Series reports provide a useful range of likely outcomes for each student. Some schools use these as a basis for a discussion with students helping them take ownership of their targets.

Your point of reference

The original UK standardisation is a reliable and valid benchmark for international students. Schools may additionally wish to compare their own data to the findings of this benchmarking exercise to see how their own school results compare those internationally.