2003 Education Political Science
SemanticScholar ID: 151013275 MAG: 297098389

Written Evidence for the Inquiry into Secondary Education: Student Achievement.

Publication Summary

The validity of public examinations as measures of academic achievement is not perfect, and the generalizability of paper-and-pencil tests to real-life tasks is rather low. In the United Kingdom, small differences between levels of attainment on public examinations cannot be attributed to real differences in achievement. The comparability of achievement tests is reduced by changes over time, place, examination board, mode of examining, subject, and syllabus. A major thrust of this paper is to suggest that a consideration of standards or effectiveness is not a simple matter of counting and comparing. In fact, there is no real evidence of failing educational standards over time in Britain and no convincing evidence of underperformance relative to the educational systems of other developed nations. International comparisons and those based on local education agencies do suggest that comprehensive systems of schools based on parental choice tend to produce narrower social differences in intake and outcomes. Systems with more differentiation have greater gaps in attainment between social groups. The United Kingdom is in a reasonable comparative position. There are problems related to education, certainly, but the current examination system was designed to differentiate between candidates. This differentiation cannot be used, logically, as evidence of underattainment. (Contains 54 references.) (SLD) Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made from the original document. Written evidence for the Inquiiy into Secondary Education: Student Achievement Professor Stephen Gorard and Dr Emma Smith Cardiff University School of Social Sciences Glamorgan Building King Edward VII Avenue CF10 3WT, UK email: gorard@cardiff ac.uk PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE AND DISSEMINATE THIS MATERIAL HAS BEEN GRANTED BY

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Prof. Stephen Gorard

University of Durham - Professor in the School of Education

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