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Teaching may be to blame

Roy Jobson, the city's director, said the variations in the results are too wide to be explained by problems with methodology. "We must also look at issues such as teacher expectations of their pupils, bad teaching, poor management and inexperience with assessment," Mr Jobson said.

The city accepts that target-setting is not yet a scientific process and that the resulting figures should be regarded as "indicative rather than incontestable".

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