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Secondary school league tables are out

(59 Posts)
LondonMother Thu 24-Jan-13 10:24:07

This is an interesting one for people in SE London.

BeckAndCall Thu 24-Jan-13 10:40:06

I just looked at this via the BBC website and its clearly a massively flawed exercise - if you look at the A/AS points per entry, they show a range from 10 to 1545. Clearly wrong. If they can't get these basis marauders right, and comparable, what exactly is the point of the table?

Lilymaid Thu 24-Jan-13 10:50:31

Some rather disturbing reading on the BBC website:
"Almost a quarter of England's sixth forms and colleges did not produce any pupils with A-level grades sought by the leading universities, data shows.

Some 594 (23.4%) of the 2,540 schools teaching A-levels had no pupils with the two As and a B in the subjects recommended for top degree courses."

Is that true or is it something to do with the way the statistics are compiled? If it were true it sounds like a lot of clever students are missing out.

Also bemused by the bit regarding English GCSE where it was said that English Literature (not Language) GCSE counted in the 5 good GCSEs for the tables??

BeckAndCall Thu 24-Jan-13 10:54:30

lilymiad it's at least in part due to the way the statistics are calculated - its about the table-maker's interpretation of 'facilitating subjects'. If you read the list from the Russell group, the list is as narrow as the 'info' button on the table suggests. But then they also go on to say that economics, politics, religious studies and Welsh can also be included - but they have not been taken into account in the statistics.

If its taken me 5 minutes to find two really big problems with the tables' assumptions, how many more must there be?

Ladymuck Thu 24-Jan-13 10:55:02

I hadn't really looked at these before. It's a very crude analysis isn't it? At least with KS2 SATS, I guess schools were being measured on the basis of the same set of exams, sat at the same time. This measure is a lot more random. I guess that in my area I think that he schools in the top, middle and bottom thirds are probably correctly located, but the individual statistics look dubious to say the least, presumably because some qualification are included, and others not.

singersgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 11:01:27

If you're really interested in seeing how individual schools compare, you need to go to their own websites and look at how the marks break down. It all depends in what you're interested in. Since most of the top performing schools are academically selective, you'd expect them all to do well. So the question (for many parents) is how well the brightest students are doing. Overall point score is pretty meaningless.

For example, Colyton Grammar (a school often mentioned on here, which appears at number 12 on that BBC table) seems to make a lot, if not all, of its pupils take General Studies. This bumps up the average point score for all pupils and hence the school's position, but you could argue is actually not at all helpful for the pupils themselves - only 8% of pupils got A* for General Studies and 60% got B/C. So this exam may be distracting the pupils from their core studies and not giving them the grades that will really help at the top universities. And overall the A*/A percentage was 24/32.

On the other hand, St Paul's, which appears way down the table, got 56% A* and 32% A at A-level this year. So although its average point score is lower (maybe on average they do fewer A-levels) pupils are getting better grades on the ones they do take - which presumably is more useful for them in university applications.

None of this really matters, as most people choose schools, if they even have a choice, for wider reasons than pure exam results. But it is interesting to see what different scoring systems give you.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Thu 24-Jan-13 13:58:32

Our head has just this minute sent out an email saying there's been an error and a mis-calculation and that therefore the school appears lower down than it should. I'm amused, as she frequently proclaims that she'd rather the girls were well-rounded than academic high-fliers. Clearly not!

littlecrystal Thu 24-Jan-13 14:03:01

Oh dear. Our local South London converter academy achieved better results than the one in a nearby posh area, to where I wanted to move. Given the rough intake of the local school and the rich intake of the posh school, this goes against my senses.

Should I just look at Ebacc results aiming at 'serious' subjects?

By the way all info can be found on Dept of Education website.

Samestoryhere Thu 24-Jan-13 14:09:26

ha ha Return of the Smart Arse, we obviously have kids at the same school as I got that email too smile What a mare for the HT as that 1% difference is obviously a big deal!

stclemens Thu 24-Jan-13 14:24:21

I wonder if this is the same GDST head that has just emailed me as well....

Samestoryhere Thu 24-Jan-13 14:28:12

St Clemens - HH?

Honestyisbest Thu 24-Jan-13 15:28:28

This league table is clearly flawed. It's a joke.
Many league tables which include indes and state don't recognise the iGCSE which many indie school prefer for maths, sciences etc hence the lower overall score. You can get better info on here!!!!

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Thu 24-Jan-13 15:31:04

I love HH!

stclemens Thu 24-Jan-13 15:51:03

no we're WHS so it is clearly a wider issue...

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Thu 24-Jan-13 15:57:57

We're WHS too ...

Samestoryhere Thu 24-Jan-13 17:03:04

Stclemens, I was referring to the Head's initials. Sounds like that's a trio then smile

stclemens Thu 24-Jan-13 18:36:16

Doh (penny drops)!

TotallyBS Fri 25-Jan-13 13:15:16

Ditto iGCSE comment. DS's school is in top 20 when you look at A level rankings but it drops dramatically when you look at the tables being discussed. The reason? A lot of their subjects are iGCSEs which aren't given full/any weight in these type of tables.

GCSEChaos Fri 25-Jan-13 13:19:44

For Edexcel you need to take English Lang & Lit for the specification to be met. I dont know about other exam boards.

mumzy Fri 25-Jan-13 17:15:55

Well ds1 indie is languishing in the 2000's and this is a school who sends 25% of its intake to oxbridge and the rest to Russell Group universities. They also do almost entirely igcses and don't have VA scores. If i was assessing a school for my dcs I would rather know which unis their pupils went and the subjects studied i think these league tables are seriously flawed.

prosopon Fri 25-Jan-13 22:12:23

the "top" state schools make their students do General Studies, Colchester certainly do that as well as Colyton. The Financial Times tables strip it out and therefore are slightly more use.

mumzy Fri 25-Jan-13 22:41:30

I'm surprised they don't count igcses I thought they had now being approved for state schools. You need a degree in cryptology to understand the current exam system [ shakes head and wanders off muttering to herself]

CarlingBlackMabel Mon 28-Jan-13 12:44:43

What is an iGCSE?

TotallyBS Mon 28-Jan-13 12:59:12

The "I" stands for International. It's supposed to be more demanding than your bog standard GCSE.

oakman Mon 28-Jan-13 16:10:49

Colyton A level student are take General Studies to AS level only, then usually drop this and go on to take 3/4 onto A2. I don't think this is designed to manipulate league table figure, simply to give student a broad educational base. I must point out that the BBC 2013 secondary school league table placed Colyton at the top, which is quite a mean achievment considering student take there GCSE's in year10

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