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The limitations of using school league tables to inform school choice

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  • George Leckie
  • Harvey Goldstein

Abstract

In England, so-called 'league tables' based on examination results and test scores are published annually, ostensibly to inform parental choice of secondary schools. A crucial limitation of these tables is that the most recent published information is based on the current performance of a cohort of pupils who entered secondary schools several years earlier, whereas for choosing a school it is the future performance of the current cohort that is of interest. We show that there is substantial uncertainty in predicting such future performance and that incorporating this uncertainty leads to a situation where only a handful of schools' future performances can be separated from both the overall mean and from one another with an acceptable degree of precision. This suggests that school league tables, including value-added tables, have very little to offer as guides to school choice. Copyright (c) 2009 Royal Statistical Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Statistical Society in its journal Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society).

Volume (Year): 172 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 835-851

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:172:y:2009:i:4:p:835-851

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  1. Sheila M. Bird & Cox Sir David & Vern T. Farewell & Goldstein Harvey & Holt Tim & Smith Peter C., 2005. "Performance indicators: good, bad, and ugly," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(1), pages 1-27.
  2. David Afshartous & Michael Wolf, 2005. "Avoiding Data Snooping in Multilevel and Mixed Effects Models," IEW - Working Papers, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich 260, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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Cited by:
  1. Arpino, Bruno & Varriale, Roberta, 2009. "Assessing the quality of institutions’ rankings obtained through multilevel linear regression models," MPRA Paper 19873, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Rebecca Allen & Simon Burgess, 2011. "Evaluating the provision of school performance information for school choice," DoQSS Working Papers, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London 11-10, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  3. Maria Ferrão, 2012. "On the stability of value added indicators," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 627-637, February.
  4. Isabella Sulis & Mariano Porcu, 2012. "Comparing degree programs from students’ assessments: A LCRA-based adjusted composite indicator," Statistical Methods and Applications, Springer, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 193-209, June.

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