A cobbled together value-added table would not be accurate

23rd February 1996 at 00:00
The lead story (TES, February 9) suggested that, if it were possible to collect and collate individual pupil data from Year 2 tests in 1992 then a "value-added" league table for 1996 would become meaningful. My own experience, and doubtless that of others too, would suggest not.

I am in the unusual position of having tested the same children at both key stage 1 and 2 in 1991 and 1995 and will this year be able to compare children I tested in 1992. It is significant that a substantial minority in 1995 were unable to achieve a level 3 in the English reading test paper and were therefore subjected to the reading task which awarded a maximum level 2. The recipients had an uncomfortable sense of deja vu since they were awarded level 2 in 1991.

A table based on this data, then, would create a public impression that no progress has been made regarding some children. My teacher assessment in 1995 was of the opinion that level 2 did not reflect children's progress. In fact, the same children achieved level 3 in a key stage 1 reading task for which, of course, they were not eligible. Any attempt to increase the relevance of proposed league tables by factoring in a value-added element will remain unsatisfactory unless there is a distinction for progress within levels.

Perhaps even more importantly, there would need to be direct correlation between the same level at different key stages. At the present time I am not convinced that there is.

MARK ELLISON 33Grangefield Avenue Burley-In-Wharfedale West Yorkshire

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