Making sense of the data

29th November 1996 at 00:00
Neil Munro explains the ins and outs of this year's school performance tables

The Education Management Information Service, based within East Renfrewshire Council, provides the detailed information on performance that schools really value.

Its analysis of exam figures continues the system set up by the former Strathclyde Region and allows comparisons between schools of similar performance and their subject departments. Eleven of the 12 former Strathclyde authorities (South Lanarkshire is the exception) have contracts. Clackmannanshire and Stirling have also signed up.

Bill Coyle, the region's former chief inspector, who helps run the service, believes that smaller authorities will come under greater pressure to explain schools' performances. "The smaller the school and the smaller the number of schools in any council area, the greater and more obvious will be the swings from year to year," Mr Coyle says.

"It will be important for them to know that, for example, their maths results are down this year compared with other similar schools."

Bob Tennent, who heads the team, says its contribution is to help schools see behind average scores.

While the socio-economic backgrounds of a school's intake are analysed along with the proportions of free meals and clothing grants, they are only one of four measures - and, Mr Coyle adds, the least important one.

The other three are average scores in English, maths, science and the social subjects, the "within school" performance profile and the assessment of departments in a sample of 10 similarly performing schools.

Schools are then placed on a scale of one to seven showing which are performing above, in line with or below expectation. It is this analysis which gave St Mungo's in Glasgow its "dramatic" Standard grade improvement (whereas the Scottish Office tables consign the school to 14th place out of Glasgow's 39 secondaries for Standard grades 1-2 and 13th for Standard grades 1-4).

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now