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Accurate performance measure but meaningless ranking exercise? An analysis of the English school league tables

  • Deborah Wilson
  • Anete Piebalga

    ()

Parental choice among schools in England is informed by annually published school performance (league) tables. The 2006 league tables included a measure of contextual value added (CVA) for the first time. By explicitly accounting for the characteristics of a school’s intake, CVA should provide a more accurate measure of the impact a school has on its pupils’ progress, i.e. on school effectiveness. In this paper we use UK government administrative data to replicate CVA and other key performance measures in order to investigate the extent to which the current league tables provide the information necessary to support parental choice on the basis of school effectiveness. We find that while CVA does provide a more accurate measure of school performance or effectiveness, school rankings based on CVA are largely meaningless: almost half of English secondary schools are indistinguishable from the national average.

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File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp176.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 07/176.

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Length: 11 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:07/176
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  1. Deborah Wilson & Bronwyn Croxson & Adele Atkinson, 2004. "“What Gets Measured Gets Done”: Headteachers’ Responses to the English Secondary School," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 04/107, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  2. Andy Wiggins, 2002. "Dysfunctional Effects of League Tables: A Comparison Between English and Scottish Primary Schools," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 22(1), pages 43-48, 01.
  3. Simon Burgess & Carol Propper & Helen Slater & Deborah Wilson, 2005. "Who wins and who loses from school accountability? The distribution of educational gain in English secondary schools," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 05/128, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  4. Adam Briggs & Simon Burgess & Deborah Wilson, 2006. "The Dynamics of School Attainment of Englands Ethnic Minorities," CASE Papers case105, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  5. Jesse M. Rothstein, 2006. "Good Principals or Good Peers? Parental Valuation of School Characteristics, Tiebout Equilibrium, and the Incentive Effects of Competition among Jurisdictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1333-1350, September.
  6. Randall Reback & Julie Berry Cullen, 2006. "Tinkering toward accolades: School gaming under a performance accountability system," Working Papers 0601, Barnard College, Department of Economics.
  7. Deborah Wilson, 2004. "Which Ranking? The Impact of a 'Value-Added' Measure of Secondary School Performance," Public Money & Management, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, vol. 24(1), pages 37-45, 01.
  8. Carol Propper & Deborah Wilson, 2003. "The Use and Usefulness of Performance Measures in the Public Sector," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 250-267, Summer.
  9. repec:rus:hseeco:122160 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. David N. Figlio & Lawrence S. Getzler, 2002. "Accountability , Ability and Disability: Gaming the System," NBER Working Papers 9307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Harvey Goldstein & Simon Burgess & Brendon McConnell, 2007. "Modelling the effect of pupil mobility on school differences in educational achievement," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(4), pages 941-954.
  12. Meyer, Robert H., 1997. "Value-added indicators of school performance: A primer," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 283-301, June.
  13. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
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