Tuesday, August 21, 2007

School Value Added

Mike Ion in the Guardian extols the inner-city school.

The present league tables inevitably puts schools in leafy suburbs at the top and struggling inner-city ones at the bottom. The challenge is to persuade a cynical media, as well as parents and the general public, that CVA is the real measure of school effectiveness.

CVA was invented to try and pull off precisely the trick Mr Ion is attempting.

"OK, the results are dire, but given the raw material they've done a fantastic job"

In practice I believe that private schools also come top in CVA measurement, but let it pass. Anyway, I was moved by Mr Ion's argument to post the following :

Mike Ion is quite right.

Let's take two schools - say St Cuthberts CoE Secondary in the small Somerset market town of Marston Bigot, and the Learco Chindamo Community College in Maida Vale.

St Cuthberts has a catchment area of mostly well-off middle class Bristol commuters, with a few farmers and agricultural workers, a largish contingent of young Poles who are rapidly replacing the native agricultural workers, and a small number of benefit-dependent natives concentrated on a single 'social housing' estate.

The children reflect this mix (although there are fewer young Poles - they're still in nursery). 71% of year 11s get 5 A-Cs including Maths and English.

At Learco Chindamo Community College, over 950 languages are spoken - remarkable in a school of 800 children. There are large numbers of children from Somalia, Angola, Kurdistan and Afghanistan. There is a fully manned police station in the school. Security guards patrol the corridors. There is a significant gang problem - one Somali pupil was knifed to death outside the gates last year. 31% of Year 11s get 5 A-Cs including Maths and English.

Yet considering that many of the children arrriving in Year 7 have significant language disabilities, learning and conduct disorders, and low levels of educational attainment, this 31% represents a significant achievement by dedicated staff. In CVA terms, the school adds twice as much value between years 7 and 11 as does St Cuthberts.

Well, given the choice, any parent would be crazy not to choose Learco Chindamo Community College over St Cuthberts.

Wouldn't they ?


Anonymous said...

But we aren't supposed to select schools with a view to the advancement of our own children, who tend to resemble us. That would be racism, and they might grow up with confidence and self respect. How evil!
If the public were of the same mind as this dork, they would be moving out of the leafy suburbs and settling in the high-rise heroin infested satanic mills, in order to "add value" to the sink estates. We don't do that, because we seek the comfort and security of like-minded folk. In a socialist paradise, we would have no choice in the matter. That's what the chardonay classes want- for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

All socialists conform to this description

Anonymous said...

The job of any government is to achieve the efficient use of scarce financial resources. OUR resources.
Given the security/social problems, etc related to the second example, this is grossly inefficient.
Any government intentionally going along these lines forfeits its legitimacy. No electorate would give it such a mandate.

In the real world, which this reflects, this socialist/liberal elected dross has deliberately followed schemes that manifestly damage the existing society, and the resident indigenes in particular.

Unnecessary social stress, financial costs, etc brought about by the elected representatives are creating massive, present and future, disadvantages, in a globalised, connected world.

International comparisons, not silly, contrived, added value concepts, create a more employable, internationally competitive, work force. - one that is more able to finance future pension liabilities. After all, that is the over-arching reason that the importation of sand-fleas was sanctioned decades ago.

The lowering of standards is increasingly reflected in international educational/research comparison tables, GDP per capita, industrial innovation, etc.
We are rapidly reaching the status of third world, with all the attendant problems. Cancer survival rates, exporting trained doctors, etc, etc.

Whomever came up with the added value concept should be dismissed forthwith, along with their followers, together with a lifelong guarantee of no further employment, and the entire concept exposed for the crap that it is.

Educational policies need a total rethink, as does the entire direction of the country.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the nurdGaia - and how have its big nobs solved the problem of which state school to send their own brats to? Goodness me, they've, ahem, side-stepped that problem.

Anonymous said...

You want to talk?
You know where I am.

Anonymous said...

Adml Nimitz, and Europe should meet, as a stray Asian Tiger mosquito could derail the futures markets.

Anonymous said...

A little Googling around Michael "Mike" Ion revealed the following:

From his own blog

Favourite Books
Grapes of Wrath Ragged trousered philanthropist Great Expectations Brothers Karamazov

And from a piece about him on the Mars Hill blog

And what would you say were your three . . . favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

The ragged trousered philanthropist – Robert Tressell
Grapes of wrath – John Steinbeck
Brick Lane – Monica Ali

Perhaps if he had genuinely read it he would know it was actually called The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

Anonymous said...

Quite apart from anything else, it should be obvious that you can't use a measure like "number of children getting 5+ A-C grades" when making assessments of relative improvement.

Unless, of course, you believe that a child capable of getting 5 'C's at GCSE can't be improved...

Laban said...

Comments containing rude words or calling for the execution of anyone (other than murderers) will be snipped where noticed.

Unknown said...

How about rapists? Can we call to exeute them?

Anonymous said...

"Comments containing rude words or calling for the execution of anyone (other than murderers) will be snipped where noticed."

This is surely too prescriptive - what about the slimeball lawyer who has been so patronising to Mrs Lawrence?

Laban said...

see the post headed "if only it were true" !