Statistics statistics statistics

Statistics statistics statistics

As the title suggests, the role of statistics in school policy towards teachers and students is becoming ever more prominent. Of course schools have long since entered the realm of competition but recent events have reminded me of this.

Recently at the end of a politics class my teacher said he wanted to see me and two other students at the end of the lesson. Not fearing disciplinary measures, although there was homework that was due in that I managed to slip out the room without mentioning it or handing it in, I was more curoious. So I stayed, as did the others.

He explained to us how we were considered "marginal students", which meant we were on the borderline between a C and a B grade but that we could go either way. Because of this, they thought that the tedium of beurocracy would be the just the thing to motivate us. Basically, they were trying to re try a failed scheme much similar that had been implimented a couple months previous. The beurocracy mentioned consisted of a yellow piece of paper where we had to choose a special area of which to focus and fill out a sort of progress report, grading ourselves and getting teachers to sign it as well at the end of each lesson. When they tried to do it before, they did it too a lot of the year and called us at the end of the 2 week cycle it was supposed to be for to the common room to give them in. I had lost mine the day I got it, and many others had not filled it in. Predictably, it proved to be empty threats and a futile attempt, and no consequences were suffered.

However this is not the main issue I wish to raise. The significance of this is that it shows how schools are more focused on boasting statistics about A*-B/C grades than actually helping the students that are in more need than the "marginal students", not to say grades in any way reflect any real notion of intelligence etc. How about instead of bothering the people doing alright with meaningless pieces of paper, I dont know, giving special attention to people that are falling behind, the reasons for which can be very varied. And its not like it was just a bother to me either, the teachers knew it was a bunch of shit as well. In my history class the teacher quickly listed the people who were on the list to be put on this thing, but admitted rather blunty that "to be honest, I can't be bothered". Right he is, right he is.

Posted By

Jan 24 2012 19:56


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Jan 24 2012 20:12

Worst of Croydonian, this shit starts in early primary sad

Jan 24 2012 20:34
Jan 25 2012 00:12

Nice post Croydonian! What they don't seem to recognise with these monitoring farces is that to take part in them would in itself be pretty good evidence that students are stupid.

Chilli Sauce
Jan 25 2012 07:54

I worked at a school where school resources were targeted precisely at this borderline group--not the kids who were failing or in danger of dropping out, but at the kids who had the best chance of bringing up the school's ratio or a*-c grades.

Jan 25 2012 21:54

Mate most schools are like that!!!
C-D borderline is a huge deal - many schools are essentially 'C factories'.

jef costello
Jan 29 2012 13:26

The measurements of performance are all based on numbers getting A*-C grades, so basically that C/D borderline is the only point where work actually counts for anything. This is league tables and schools getting put onto special measures, extra OFSTED etc

Jan 29 2012 15:04

They're now pushing the second measure, that of 'value added' as indicated by 'three levels of progress' from ks2 to ks4. That's what teachers in our school are performance managed against.

jef costello
Jan 29 2012 17:14

On the one hand value-added teaching seems a fairer method, on the other there is no way this will be used except as a stick to beat us with.
We're performance managed against that too, but as it doesn't count towards tables they don't mind if we fail, stops people hitting threshold.

Jan 29 2012 17:18

I know what you mean by 'fairer' as at least that takes account 'starting point' but it's also woefully de-contextualised as it assumes uniform rate of development for every student, and a completely level playing field within which to develop, which we of course know is bollocks.

jef costello
Jan 29 2012 18:19

Like every one of these statistical measures it takes no account of the context. You can be on track then one kid gets hit hard when their parents get divorced and suddenly you're a bad teacher.