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Crude measures of comparison

THERE may not have been any obvious howlers in Education Secretary Charles Clarke's wooing of the press (TES, March 7), but we might ask if it is wise for him to use free school meals as a measure of children's ability when judging the performance of individual schools.

Indeed, is this compatible with pronouncements on the failure of universities to tap talent among low-income families?

There are some very serious problems involved in comparing the performance of schools, and cavalier use of crude measures does not help.

Professor Martyn Hammersley

Faculty of education and language studies

The Open University

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