There are a number of performance indicators that can be used in schools and we shall outline these below, as well as any associated problems. Grades at GCSE & A-level would be an example of a performance indicator as it generally indicates the different levels of ability each student possesses. There are two problems with this, however. Certain students may be among the cleverest in their year but for whatever reason did not produce these results on the day, e. g. personal problems, or just generally don’t like examinations as a method of assessment.

This is arguably a fairly accurate measure of performance in a school but I don’t agree it is the reflection of a student’s ability as a lot depends on the quality of the teaching also which can be good or bad depending on the school. Also some students may adapt better to different teaching methods and may not be in the school that suits them best. Another performance indicator is the percentage of students who pass all GCSE and A’ Level exams. However if a student has for example 7 A’s, all of which are academic subjects, and 1 D in a subject he is extremely weak in, he would therefore not fit into the category of obtaining all pass grades.

Someone with 8 C’s on the other hand would fit into this category. This therefore does not give an accurate record of the school’s performance and is a drawback of this particular performance indicator. Universities for example use the UCAS points system to give admission to students and this is also used now as a minimum requirement by employers, e. g. 22 UCAS points. However this on the same note may not be a true reflection of a students ability. We could have a student with 2 A’s at A’ level and an E in his third subject.

This would give 22 UCAS points. Another student may have three B grades which would give 24 UCAS points. I do not believe the first student is of less ability but may have just under-performed in his last exam or even one of the papers in his third subject which resulted in the grade for the subject being pulled down. Again if you have a category for students with three A’ levels, grades A-C, then the first student does not fit in. I do not feel looking at all subject grades as a whole is fair and it would be more accurate to look at individual subjects.

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If certain performance indictors are made public, then this will increase competition between schools, e. g. league tables. On the one hand, we could argue that this competition will be healthy, as schools will realise that parents will, more than ever be choosing more actively where to send their child to school, thus will be pushing for continuous improvements in order to raise standards. On the other hand, while the popular schools will be expanding, unpopular ones may be forced to close down. Several of these unpopular schools may operate in uniquely disadvantaged areas and may be an important part of the local community.

Additionally, most of the performance indicators above relate to examination competences, but as we have already discussed, these should not be the only measures of a child’s ability as some schools may excel in other areas such as sport. Broadbent stresses the importance of realising that research has revealed much resistance to the idea that outputs of the schools can be measured. This belief is justified by appeals to the value set of education. The value set is claimed by teachers to be rooted in relationships and based on a desire to help individual pupils achieve their own unique best.


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