Significantly suspect ratings

11th August 2006 at 01:00
Surely, relating a school's value-added (VA) rating to the mean is nonsense (TES, Letters, July 28)?

The point of the Government's VA rating is to see how a school is improving its pupils' lot from what is predicted from their prior attainment in key stage 2 (and 3) Sats to what they achieve at the end of key stage 4. Thus a school with a score of 1,000 has done its job well by meeting expectations, a school with a score below 1,000 will show a loss of value to the extent of the shortfall.

Dr Jones' school achieved a "significantly above average" value added score of 1,011.7 but should have been recorded as having a score "significantly above prediction". So a school with a score of 988 or below should be recorded as "significantly below prediction" and therefore seriously not achieving to its pupils capablities. There are clearly many schools who have given themselves a self-congratulatory pat on the back in their annual reports for achieving "broadly average" ratings, which hide their significantly poor performance.

My own school is one of the Department for Education and Skills-approved special schools for children with specific learning difficulties and dyslexia (and the only one in the Midlands) that takes in very low achievers at key stage 2 or 3 and consistently achieves the highest VA ratings of about 1,200 at key stage 4. How does one describe the "significance" of such ratings?

Dr E Neville Brown


Maple Hayes Hall



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