Are third level progress charts a flawed and limited metric? Or do they provide valuable information to parents and guardians? The answer to both questions is yes.
Information published in today’s Irish Times is not popular with teacher unions or some politicians, who say they promote elitism and strengthen the position of already privileged schools.
Professor Kevin Deeney, Head of the School of Economics at UCD, takes up the issue. “The basic logic is the following: school is multi-dimensional, it’s not all about points. Such tables don’t reflect this. Arrogance, nothing is better. But since deciding which school to send your kids to One of the biggest decisions many parents make, it is fundamental that they are in a position to make an informed decision.”
College progress data is only one metric, and today we also publish advice on equally important factors that parents or guardians may consider when selecting a second tier school.
At the Orechtas Committee on Education in September 2021, John Irwin, general secretary of the Association for Community and Comprehensive Schools, criticized the media for not including apprenticeships in the “so-called league table”.
But apprenticeship and further education are not excluded from the annual feeder school table as The Irish Times or other newspapers choose to ignore the data.
Rather, it is because data on the parent school of students going for further education and training is not systematically collected and released.
Despite criticism in the media over progress tables, the road to better data has been consistently blocked by the Department of Education and Ministers for Education who know how schools are performing.
Today, however, we have published data provided by Dunboyne College of Forward Education showing the secondary school of origin of its students. This helps paint a better picture of the outcomes of students in those schools, although this remains a partial result – many of their students have gone on to other colleges of further education but the data is not always recorded or released.
make relevant Today’s data shows that, surprisingly, fee-paying schools in wealthier areas send more students to the third tier. However, important details that can help people understand and understand this information are blocked by the government.
“Are fee paying schools so good and government schools so bad?” Denny asks. “Probably not, but parents can’t know for sure because the information that can help them decide is censored. Ireland, incidentally, did not publish any information about school performance in the case of Other English The speaking countries do not conform. Making an informed decision is exactly what the educational system is set to prevent. Those who argue against providing exams and other data on schools are implicitly saying that they Knows the limits of information, but the public does not.”
So what might better data look like? Dr Edin Doris, Prof Donal O’Neill and Dr Olive Sweetman are lecturers and researchers in the Department of Economics at Maynooth University. He researched the factors affecting school outcomes and school performance.
“It makes sense for the media to provide information about school performance, but that information has to be meaningful,” he says.
“If you take the Irish Times feeder school table as a measure of a school’s success, it will appear on the surface that fees-paying schools are good schools. What we do in our paper on Value-Added Approaches to Assess Schools do, however, control for factors that may influence the group of students after primary school, including how they progressed to primary school, parents’ level of education, and their socioeconomic background.
“The data is not readily available for parents to compile this information on a school-by-school basis: this would require access to data on how incoming secondary school peers performed on their Drumchondra tests. compared it with the school’s overall Leaving Certificate results. The Drumcondra test results are unlikely to be publicly released, and [most] Schools do not publish their overall Leaving Certificate results,” he says.
“It must be frustrating at times to teach at Dees School, as the current rankings published in the Irish Times do not give them due recognition for their work, and this can have an impact on morale, as well as encourage teachers to focus on it. Students who need to make a little more progress to make it to the third level.
“A value-added approach may not be able to pinpoint a school’s exact numerical ranking, but they can say, for example, which schools are in the top 10 or 20 percentiles.
“We think this will provide meaningful information for parents and policy makers, but the Department of Education is reluctant to make value-added evaluations and allow for meaningful comparisons,” say the researchers.
“They provide whole school assessments, but they are very qualitative; they don’t seem fit for purpose, but can give an indication of whether there are serious problems at school.
“In our work, we also looked at variables that are related to high or low value-added, including streaming, student support, school type, and principal’s characteristics.
“One of the few variables we found to be associated with value added was a female principal. This has been replicated in other international studies as well. We found no association between school type and value added.
“People learn about good schools in their area, mainly through word of mouth, and a successful school is doing something unique, and not always measurable.”