The Department for Education has proposed changing the way in which school league tables are constructed and has launched a consultation on the matter.
In a statement to the House of Commons on 7 February 2012
, education secretary Michael Gove announced new proposals to change to the measurement of secondary school performance. Rather than focusing on how many children achieve a C pass in five GCSEs, which Gove said focused teachers too closely on pupils on the C/D borderline at the expense of other students, he proposed two new measures which are currently out for consultation.
The first would be to measure how well pupils do in English, maths, three subjects from his defined ‘English Baccalaureate’ subjects plus three further subjects. The second would be a point score showing how much progress every student makes from Key Stage 2 to 4.
The RSS welcomes the move in principle and will be studying the proposals in depth before formulating its own response. Former RSS council member Harvey Goldstein, a chartered statistician and professor of social statistics at the University of Bristol, has already authored ‘Measuring Success
’, a 2012 report on school league tables, which highlighted the limitations of school league tables and recommended that they should be accompanied by prominent ‘health warnings’. The shortfalls of the current system have also been highlighted by Chris Cook, Martin Stabe and Cleve Jones at FT Data (video footage viewable [subscribers only] here
The consultation period ends on 1 May 2013 and the Royal Statistical Society will publish its response on www.rss.org.uk
in due course after this date.