@daily_politics. School league tables are based on SAT’s, which are unreliable

In order to make SAT’s accessible to less able, or culturally disadvantaged children, SAT’s use very simplistic questions, heavily illustrated.

This is great for the less academic pupils, in terms of appearing successful, but gives an erroneous view of how well they will fare at GCSE and, more worryingly, in life.

Consider French as a subject. The GCSE has been done up in the same fashion as the SAT’s, concentrating on Vocabulary and simple conversational pieces, such as those used in tourist phrase books.

Such, while useful for a week in a French speaking tourist resort, is hardly a springboard for coping with properly structured language, as used in the “A”-level version, which is strong on French Literature.

Pupils are achieviing qualifications in French, when they can’t structure grammatical sentences in English. How can someone who uses the phrase “could of” hope to cope with a native French speaker.

Similar problems arise with other subjects, especially my own subject of Physics, where the Science GCSE doesn’t exact any understanding of Physics beyond ideas such as Current is measured in Amps, or given two numbers, you should go for the 33% choice of Multiply them together, divide the big one into the small one (not likely), or the small one into the big one.

If you want to gauge which school is best, your options are:

For Primary schools, get hold of the first year exam results of the local Secondary schools, sorted by the feeder schools.  The pupils from certain primary schools will tend to have better literacy and numeracy, which shows up in being more successful in coping with Secondary school Curricula.

For Secondary Schools, GCSE success is a useful guide if you know that your child is non-academic but ignore GCSE success if you have children, who you believe will achieve success at degree level. For these, you compare the “A”-level results.

If you are not sure, which category your child fits into, the KS3 SAT’s are a better guide than GCSE’s.

If the Secondary school has its own internal exams, not based on SAT’s, then these will be a better guide, as they tend to test in greater depth, which is what teacher’s need if they are to properly assess pupils. (the SAT’s have too great an element of chance).

The problem is that KS4 pupils get hormonal and lose most of what they have learned at KS3.

They don’t usually recover until second year of KS5.

Even here, you have to take into account the school ethos. 18 yearolds that are encouraged to limit their youthful exuberance (not be party animals)will have greater success at “A”-level.

 

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