Better organisation raises achievement

6th September 1996 at 01:00
I write to support the views expressed by Professor Winter of Anglia Polytechnic University (Letters, TES, August 22).

Our own college's results are getting better, with a rate of annual improvement that considerably exceeds the national one, without significant change in the students' qualifications at entry. I am quite sure that being better at organising and promoting students' learning leads to better results.

However, the idea that ability is fixed is a firmly held belief of some teachers, "a damaging ambiguity", to use Professor Winter's phrase - even though it is directly contradicted by commonplace observations of human behaviour.

The current danger induced by the schools and colleges league tables is that of acting on this belief and allowing only "worthy" students through to the examination entry stage. Many of the "top 100" state schools, according to the A-level results, are producing a surprisingly small number of successful candidates. Instead of being "filters", educational institutions should be "pumps", judged by "volume" and "pressure" of the output. That is, league tables should rank schools and colleges by total numbers of successful students at several levels of attainment, rather than just average score per student.

TERRY PITCHER Chief executive South East Essex College Southend-on-Sea Essex

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today