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Tables to lose progress measure

MINISTERS are expected to drop a controversial measure of secondary school effectiveness from this autumn's performance tables.

A consultation paper published this week suggests data comparing pupils' exam success at 16 against results in tests taken two years previously will not be used to rank schools before 2000.

The tables had to be hastily changed last year after complaints that the value-added measure was not an accurate reflection of the effectiveness of schools that had achieved high results in tests taken by 14-year-olds.

The compromise struck was that schools which had made progress as measured against earlier results appeared with a tick against their name in the tables.

The progress measure is likely to be introduced in 2000 when data on individual pupils will be available.

David Hawker, of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, said: "There are a number of practical problems about producing the progress measure this year. By the year 2000 we will have comprehensive matched data at pupil level."

The objections from schools that the progress score could be inflated by encouraging pupils to take a large number of exams is to be tackled. The score will be calculated from the top eight or nine exam passes.

The consultation paper sets out plans for producing a comprehensive set of value-added data by 2004. By 2002, the tables are likely to contain a measure of the progress made by schools when results of tests taken at 11 are compared against tests taken at 14.

The final set will tell parents the extent of progress made by pupils at GCSE compared with the results they achieved at 11.

Minor changes in this year's tables include identifying specialist schools and a new listing to show the number of pupils in each school that leave without a single qualification.

The paper is available from: Sarah Church, DFEE, Room 2AL14, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3BT

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