Monthly Archives: January 2014

KS4 Campbell VA Model 2013

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GCSE School League Tables and the Equivalent Boost

It’s that time of year again when a highly complex set of GCSE school performance data is reduced to a few chosen metrics and turned into a simplistic set of league tables in which the top schools are venerated and the bottom schools are castigated.

The chosen metrics are usually based on “GCSE or equivalent” qualifications, despite the Govian rhetoric about academic rigour, and “top-performing” academy sponsors are routinely praised by the minister for their magical achievements, despite the fact that a significant portion of their performance metrics are more due to “equivalents” than “GCSEs”.

I’m not criticising equivalents. There are many non-academic teenagers who have benefited from non-GCSE vocational qualifications that have helped them find rewarding employment. We have to separate the debate about whether non-GCSE qualifications are a good thing from the discussion of school performance.

If Gove wants to praise academic rigour, he should praise the community, voluntary aided (VA) and voluntary controlled (VC) schools that deliver it. If he wants to praise academy sponsors, he should praise their creative use of equivalent vocational qualifications.

If Gove wants to celebrate diversity and praise both, that’s fine by me, but it will cost more in school transport if he wants to turn that diversity into real choice, especially in rural areas like mine. If all he sees when he looks at the English school ecosystem is a “blob” he’s overlooking some important patterns.

In order to try and untangle the data, I’m going to calculate a set of measures I call the “equivalent boost”. This is the difference between a metric calculated using GCSE and equivalent qualifications and an analogous metric calculated using GCSE only.

My dataset is based on 3,019 mainstream schools (RECTYPE=1) in England that published both key stage 2 average point score (KS2APS) and average capped point score per pupil in best 8 subjects (TTAPSCP) for 2013.

I’m going to highlight some extreme examples of the equivalent boost for analysis and discussion. I’m not automatically suggesting they’re doing anything especially good or bad, but, either way, I think they are especially interesting.

 

Percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A*-C including A*-C in both English and Maths GCSE

PTEAC5EM = PTAC5EM – PTGAC5EM

The top 11 equivalent boosters get the majority of their percentage from equivalents. 7 of them are sponsored academies.

The average sponsored academy nationally has an equivalent boost of 15%.

School Name Type GCSE+

Equivalent

GCSE

Only

Equivalent

Boost

Moseley Park AC

74%

13%

61%

Deansfield Community School,

Specialists In Media Arts

CY

72%

19%

53%

Archbishop Sentamu Academy AC

63%

13%

50%

The Steiner Academy Hereford AC

73%

23%

50%

Outwood Academy Ripon ACC

71%

22%

49%

Aylesford School – Sports College FD

59%

11%

48%

King Edward VI Academy AC

63%

23%

40%

Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy AC

72%

32%

40%

Wilmington Academy AC

71%

31%

40%

Fyndoune Community College CY

75%

36%

39%

Abraham Darby Academy AC

61%

22%

39%

The bottom 15 equivalent boosters all have zero boost. 10 are academy converters and 9 have “Grammar” in the name. And, while there are 119 schools in the country with “Grammar” in the name, there are only 15 with zero boost.

The average academy converter has an equivalent boost of 5%.

School Name Type GCSE+
Equivalent
GCSE
Only
Equivalent
Boost
The Blue Coat School ACC

100%

100%

0%

Urmston Grammar Academy ACC

99%

99%

0%

Kendrick School ACC

99%

99%

0%

Torquay Girls Grammar School ACC

99%

99%

0%

Barton Court Grammar School ACC

99%

99%

0%

Gravesend Grammar School ACC

99%

99%

0%

The King’s School, Grantham ACC

99%

99%

0%

Alcester Grammar School ACC

99%

99%

0%

The King Edward VI Grammar School,

Louth

FD

96%

96%

0%

Chatham Grammar School for Girls ACC

94%

94%

0%

Plymouth High School for Girls CY

93%

93%

0%

Dover Grammar School for Boys FD

92%

92%

0%

Loreto College ACC

88%

88%

0%

Batley Grammar School F

81%

81%

0%

Madani Girls’ School VA

63%

63%

0%

For comparison, the average community school boosts 8%, foundation 9%, VA 5%, and VC 4%.

 

Average capped point score per pupil in best 8 subjects

TTAPSECP = TTAPSCP – TTAPSGCP

The top 10 equivalent boosters get the majority of their average points from equivalents. Again, 7 out of 10 are sponsored academies.

40 points is equivalent to a grade-C GCSE, so these schools are getting 5 or 6 grade-C GCSE equivalents from non-GCSEs.

The average sponsored academy boosts by 112 points, or almost 3 grade-C GCSEs.

School Name Type GCSE+
Equivalent
GCSE
Only
Equivalent
Boost
Barnfield Skills Academy FSS

344.1

78.6

265.5

Bolton St Catherine’s Academy AC

351.6

107.7

243.9

Skegness Academy AC

375.6

133.8

241.8

Northumberland CofE Academy AC

349.4

123.4

226.0

North Liverpool Academy AC

363.5

137.6

225.9

Moseley Park AC

369.3

143.8

225.5

Aylesford School – Sports College FD

369.7

145.9

223.8

Brumby Engineering College CY

383.7

163.3

220.4

Outwood Academy Adwick AC

369.9

151.7

218.2

The Mirus Academy AC

310.9

95.2

215.7

The bottom 15 equivalent boosters are the same 15 we saw above. The average academy converter boosts by 47 points, or just over 1 grade-C GCSE.

School Name Type GCSE+
Equivalent
GCSE
Only
Equivalent
Boost
Kendrick School ACC

449.6

449.6

                    0.0
The Blue Coat School ACC

439.1

439.1

                  0.0

Torquay Girls Grammar School ACC

425.4

425.4

                  0.0

Alcester Grammar School ACC

423.6

423.6

                  0.0

The King’s School, Grantham ACC

407.2

407.2

                  0.0

Urmston Grammar Academy ACC

405.3

405.3

                  0.0

Barton Court Grammar School ACC

404.2

404.2

                  0.0

Gravesend Grammar School ACC

393.1

393.1

                  0.0

The King Edward VI Grammar School,

Louth

FD

391.3

391.3

                  0.0

Plymouth High School for Girls CY

386.6

386.6

                  0.0

Chatham Grammar School for Girls ACC

385.6

385.6

                  0.0

Loreto College ACC

383.3

383.3

                  0.0

Dover Grammar School for Boys FD

367.8

367.8

                  0.0

Batley Grammar School F

364.0

364.0

                  0.0

Madani Girls’ School VA

355.5

355.5

                  0.0

Community schools boost 66 points, foundation 74, VA 45, and VC 46.

 

Value added measure based on the best 8 subjects

B8VAMEA

Calculating an equivalent boost for the value-added measure based on the best 8 subjects (B8VAMEA) is more challenging.

B8VAMEA is based on a pupil-level cubic regression of TTAPSCP against KS2APS. I have, however, fairly successfully approximated B8VAMEA using a school-level quadratic regression of TTAPSCP against KS2APS.

I have then calculated value added measures for the GSCE-only TTAPSGCP and equivalent boost TTAPSECP above using similar school-level quadratic regressions. As I have used consistent models for all three measures, the total value added equals the sum of the GCSE-only value added and the equivalent boost value added.

A statistical regression model doesn’t have an opinion. This isn’t a measure of how much a school should be using equivalents; it’s simply a measure of what other schools with similar KS2APS intakes actually do. If the national pattern changes, the model will follow. When I talk of over- and under-boosters, I mean against the model, not my own subjective view.

The 2013 expected equivalent boost model is steeply downward sloping from 161 points at KS2APS=24 to 0 points at KS2APS=32. It has steepened slightly each year since 2011. The equivalent boost value added, therefore, is the excess over that model, and can be negative.

The top 10 overboosters list yet again contains 7 sponsored academies. The average sponsored academy overboosts by 21 points and the average foundation school overboosts by 2 points.

School Name Type DfE
Measure
GCSE+
Equivalent
GCSE
Only
Equivalent
Boost
King Edward VI Camp Hill

School for Boys

ACC

977.4

-1.3

-156.0

154.7

Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy AC

1027.7

30.6

-119.9

150.4

Brumby Engineering College CY

1044.4

47.7

-97.1

144.8

Appleton Academy AC

992.3

-1.7

-143.5

141.9

Outwood Academy Adwick AC

1028.6

36.0

-102.0

138.0

Skegness Academy AC

1048.1

50.3

-86.2

136.5

North Liverpool Academy AC

1033.2

34.2

-99.3

133.5

Bolton St Catherine’s Academy AC

1023.6

27.8

-105.5

133.3

Moseley Park AC

1044.5

40.9

-89.8

130.6

Parkside Academy ACC

1064.1

66.4

-55.4

121.7

To give some context here, Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy is in a tough area of Runcorn and is the successor to at least three previous failed schools, Halton Priory, Brookvale Comprehensive, and Halton High.

The fact that Ormiston Bolingbroke gets the results it does is a real achievement, when compared to its predecessors.

The top 10 underboosters include four community schools. The average community school underboosts by 2 points, as does the average academy converter.

The average VA school underboosts by 10 points, and the average VC school underboosts by 14.

School Name Type DfE
Measure
GCSE+
Equivalent
GCSE
Only
Equivalent
Boost
St Mary’s Catholic High School VA

990.0

-28.4

79.6

-108.0

George Mitchell School CY

997.5

-9.4

92.5

-101.9

Abraham Moss

Community School

CY

976.4

-23.6

77.0

-100.6

Manchester Health Academy AC

957.6

-50.0

50.1

-100.1

Beacon Hill Community School CY

961.1

-40.9

53.5

-94.4

Stephenson Studio School FSS

955.1

-53.7

36.3

-90.0

Whitmore High School CY

1,013.6

13.6

103.0

-89.4

St Michael’s Catholic

Secondary School

F

956.5

-76.4

11.3

-87.8

Great Yarmouth (VA) High School VA

974.6

-29.7

57.3

-87.0

Oxford Spires Academy AC

1,012.5

8.4

94.4

-86.0

I don’t know if Oxford Spires Academy’s appearance in this list will interest Warwick Mansell, given that he recently mentioned them in an article for The Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jan/21/gcse-pupils-disappearing-from-school-rolls

My concern here is that what these statistics show is the divergence of English schools into a two-tier self-selective system with “secondary post-moderns” overusing GCSE equivalent qualifications and “neogrammars” underusing them.

If money in local authorities continues to be tight, as it is here in Suffolk, free home-to-school transport may only be offered to the nearest school, and whether you end up going to a comprehensive, neogrammar or secondary post-modern may be a function of where you live, rather than your ability.

The equivalent boost has consequences and deserves investigating. DfE should include a GCSE-only value added measure in its performance tables.