This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

The ONLY weekly voice for secondary education Issue 242 • March 11 2010 Price £1.00


Report Cards and league
tables are ‘fatally flawed’
by Chris Parr
New approaches
to education
School Report Cards and league
tables should be ignored because
the information they contain is
When a school merger created
“fatally flawed”, according to a
the Basildon Academies, the
leading educationalist.
leadership team took the Stephen Gorard, professor of
chance to implement some
education research at the University
innovative approaches
of Birmingham, claims that attempts
Pages 8 and 9
to measure pupil progress while
at secondary school are doomed
Your guide to open
to failure due to a lack of reliable
source software
He also says that secondary
schools are “not largely responsi-
ble for their pupils’ examination
We hear from an expert on
results”, arguing that pupil intakes
implementing open source
with high levels of prior attainment
software in your school at age 11 tend to produce high test
Page 10
scores at age 16, and that schools
taking larger numbers of children
CPD at the OU
who are “harder to teach” get cor-
respondingly lower scores.
The Open University has an
Prof Gorard said: “The wider
increasing number of CPD
implications of these findings are Learning together: It
courses for teachers. Helen
important. Since we cannot decide does not matter where
if any one school or type of school you go to school, but
Kaut investigates what it can
is more effective than any oth- who you go with, new
offer and why teachers might
ers, the purported effectiveness research has claimed
consider enrolling of schools should not be used by
Page 13
Ofsted as the basis for light touch
inspections, nor by parents select- He continues: “Policy-makers make data, but it doesn’t solve any prob- mation very seriously when assess- a difference who they go with
SecEd digital
ing new schools.” should not assume that a new type and lems. Unfortunately, we do not ing school performance. how they are treated. We are
During his research, published of school or way of managing a running have the quality of data to make Prof Gorard continued: “Heads a risk by separating pupils
this month in his book Equity in school, including academies and by kind, specialism, and aptitude.” reliable CVA judgements. We don’t tell us time and again that inspec-
and Twitter
Education, Prof Gorard looked at trust schools, can be demonstrably Prof have information for all students, tors come in to their schools and Gorard, himself a former
30,000 pupils from across Europe more effective. In fact, we could teacher and where we do, there are often tell them that what they are doing in both the state and inde-
Thousands of teachers are
and Japan. celebrate the creation of a national pendent gaps. This attempt to overcome the is ‘outstanding’, and yet they sectors, worked with the
reading SecEddigital, a virtual
His findings suggest that it does system in which it does not appear Welsh problem of raw scores is fatally only receive a ‘satisfactory’ grade government when it decided
not matter what type of school a to matter – for attainment purposes to abolish school league tables. flawed. The matched records of because they have negative CVA.
edition of SecEd, which is
pupil attends – academy, gram- at least – which school a pupil He pupil attainment at different ages, “If you look at schools in special is now calling for the English
emailed out every week.
mar, specialist or faith school – as attends. tables and their background characteris- measures, and those on the National to be ignored because of
You can sign up for free by the institution itself will have little “We have no reason, in terms of the tics are not good enough to conduct Challenge scheme, almost all of importance they place on con-
impact on student attainment. attainment, for dangerously cluster- textual a meaningful value-added analysis. them are in big cities, with high value-added (CVA) scores,
SecEd news and features are
Far more important, according ing pupils in schools by ability, reli- which “Until these problems are solved, levels of deprivation. The fact that aim to measure the progress
now also available on Twitter.
to Prof Gorard, is the people they gion, ethnicity or social class. made league tables and their derivatives the teachers are teaching some of by students during their time
attend school with, and the affect “Our research finds that it in school. such as School Report Cards should the most challenged pupils in the
You can follow us at www.
this has “soft” factors such as social doesn’t make be ignored.” country, and that as a result they a difference which He told us: “CVA scores were
cohesion, civic participation and school This is of particular concern to may be the hardest to teach, is just children go to in terms of designed to address the fact that
aspirations. public schools, as Ofsted takes CVA infor- not taken into account.” certification, but it does league tables only used raw exam
The Big Sports Day 2010
Join Macmillan Cancer Support’s
Help yourself to our fabulous teaching
Big Sports Day and help us raise
resources too – quality PSHE linked
materials for use at any time of the year.
funds, raise cancer awareness and
To find out more and to register,
raise heart-rates – all at the same time.
© Macmillan Cancer Support November
2007. Registered charity in England and
or call 0845 601 1716
Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907)
and the Isle of Man (604).
UK news
Independent thinking
Moral support
NQT diary
Managing ICT
International thinking
At the chalkface
01-frontpage.indd 1 9/3/10 12:04:31
Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16
Produced with Yudu -