1. What are league tables?
2. What information do they include and how are they drawn up?
3. Arguments for school league tables
4. Arguments against school league tables
5. Future of the school league tables
Introduced in 1992, school league tables had the purpose to inform parents about attendance rates and pass-rates in public exams. The Labour party wanted to give the parents the possibility to see the difference between the schools and to assess their choices realistically. The school league tables include data about achievement and attainment from different sources, for example the Sats, the GCSE and the A-Level qualifications. School league tables can give snapshot of the average attainment in exams, depending on the measure used to draw it up. But it is not always easy to interpret the available data.
1. What are league tables?
There is a vast discussion about school league tables in England. But what are school league tables? In this academic essay I will give a short overview about what school league tables are, which data they contain and what the advantages and disadvantages are. In the end I will give a short conclusion and a prospect about the development in the near future.
The first school league tables appeared in the newspapers in the early 1990s, whereas the first detailed exam results were published in the 1980s by many schools. One generation ago, only a minority of schools published their exam results. Moreover, no one asked for detailed achievement and attainment data. Compared to previous years, we now have considerably more information available (HMC, 2004).
Introduced in 1992, school league tables had the purpose to inform parents about attendance and pass rates in public exams. The Labour party wanted to give parents the possibility to see the difference between the schools and to assess their choices realistically (Woods, Bagley & Glatter, 1998, p. 5 ff.).
The government publishes the school league tables, also called „achievement and attainment tables“ (BBC, 2011a) annually. During the last years, schools were not ranked from the government by their performance, but since January 12 this year, the Department of Education offers a possibility to rank them online by different measures on their webpage (BBC, 2011a). In recent years, media organisations often used the data, offered by the government, to produce rankings and published the results (BBC, 2011a).
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- school league tables GCSE A Level England Labour Party pass rates public exams government parents information departement of education education pupils students ranking rankings assessment