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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:43 am 
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I'm looking at non selective secondary schools as back up options for DD in Y5 who is taking 11 plus in September. Neither DH nor myself went to schools in this country so we struggle to understand why the average percentage of children obtaining a standard pass, ie grade 4 at GCSE, and don't need to resit the test, is only 59% across England. Even very outstanding comprehensives that people rave about get about 60%, and most of the good ones get about 50%. Does that mean the education system "fails" about half of the children? Of course tests don't reflect the entire education but one would have thought they are there for a reason at the end of the compulsory education stage and a strong majority of children should pass.

The gap between grammars and non selectives (especially non faiths) is too significant ie 99% vs 50%. Maybe that is one argument against selection which I don't want to dwell on here. Just want to get my head around the fact that it's normal ie 40% chance to fail GCSE if my child goes to a non selective non faith school.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:21 pm 
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sandy09 wrote:
I'm looking at non selective secondary schools as back up options for DD in Y5 who is taking 11 plus in September. Neither DH nor myself went to schools in this country so we struggle to understand why the average percentage of children obtaining a standard pass, ie grade 4 at GCSE, and don't need to resit the test, is only 59% across England. Even very outstanding comprehensives that people rave about get about 60%, and most of the good ones get about 50%. Does that mean the education system "fails" about half of the children? Of course tests don't reflect the entire education but one would have thought they are there for a reason at the end of the compulsory education stage and a strong majority of children should pass.

The gap between grammars and non selectives (especially non faiths) is too significant ie 99% vs 50%. Maybe that is one argument against selection which I don't want to dwell on here. Just want to get my head around the fact that it's normal ie 40% chance to fail GCSE if my child goes to a non selective non faith school.

But it's an average, it doesn't mean that your child as an individual has a 40% chance. There will be a whole range at the comprehensive, some of whom have problems that mean they may never be able to achieve a grade 4 in English. It doesn't mean that the school has failed them. Look at the attainment of the high achievers for the school. It often isn't so different to a grammar school (certainly if you look at non super selective schools).
You could say that the grammar schools have failed the 1% who went in at a very high level and didn't get a level 4 (or 5, as I think the tables show now).


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:07 pm 
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I believe Progress 8 tracks achievement and is a better indicator of how well a school is teaching (Guest55 could confirm that or you could search the phrase on the forum to find more information).


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:02 pm
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Location: S E London
The way the exams are marked also means that only a certain percentage of students taking the exams will pass - they are set up so that some children will fail. It's not like a driving test or a music exam where everyone who reaches a certain level passes - so in theory everyone could pass. I read somewhere recently (can't remember where) that about 1/3 of students for each subject achieve below a 4 - the exams are set up like this.

Add to this the fact that non-selective schools in selective areas don't have the top approx 25% (depending on the area) of students and of course they are not going to achieve 66% ( the percentage of students who pass). I know that this is very crude statistics, but it gives a rough idea.

And students in non-selective schools do achieve more highly - a student in a local non-selective school achieved all 9s last summer and a number of others achieved all 8s and 9s


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:24 pm 
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Hi! Think of it this way....
if 100% of children entering the exams were to be passed no matter what mark they got, the test would be meaningless.
If 0% of children entering the exams were passed, it would also be meaningless.
Exams are either pass/fail, or graded into bands. There is a “desirable” result which at present is over 4 or over 5, the maximum being a 9 grade.

Some are raw achievement exams (get a certain % you get a certain grade) but GCSEs and A levels are cohort exams (a rough proportion of entrants get each grade, the exact cuttoff varies a little each year which is how you can get “record grades” in one year or another.) only a few percent can get the 9 grade: ie most very high students are expected to get 7/8s with the occasional possible 9.

Now think of 100 children in the local population, some may have special needs, social problems, medical issues, or just be on the lower percentages of intelligence.
These children all legally must be schooled, and aren’t likely to get a high number of good grades. As long as they achieve as best THEY can, their school and family will be proud of them. But such children are not going to be in a selective school.
Selective Grammars and some independent schools top-slice off only high-achieving children, often from priveleged/motivated families. These kids should ALL be capable of good grades with decent teaching and home support. Which is why you see they usually get such good grades. The few percentage points that get “dropped” from grammar results are the children unfortunate enough to get physical or mental illness or family crises that dent their grades, or who react badly to the performance pressure.

The comps often release data for their higher-achieving student stream, and this gives a more equal picture. If your child is intelligent and your family supportive, they can still achieve well at a non selective school. Don’t be concerned by the discrepency in overall pass rates: it simply reflects that the students are not comparable as a whole cohort.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:02 pm
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Location: S E London
[


Quote "The comps often release data for their higher-achieving student stream, and this gives a more equal picture. If your child is intelligent and your family supportive, they can still achieve well at a non selective school. Don’t be concerned by the discrepency in overall pass rates: it simply reflects that the students are not comparable as a whole cohort.[/quote]


Also don't confuse comprehensive schools, which have an intake which includes the full range of ability, and non-selective schools in selective areas, who lose the top % (which varies from area to area). The truly comprehensive schools should, in theory, get higher results.

And then there are the schools who 'remove' those children whom they think won't achieve - we have a couple like that near us. (Allegedly , of course)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:57 pm 
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Some posts have been removed, as some posters ignored the moderator note posted yesterday. Please remember the forum rules and keep it civil.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:49 pm 
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Very roughly speaking because they are not selective..
A selective school creams off the top 10% where as a non selective school also has the other 90% of pupils.
So if a non selective school has a good performing top stream and gets about 10% the score of a selective school then its effectively getting equivalent results.

Ok there are a lot of pretty poor non selective schools that have set their sights low and so are underperforming, but don't just base your judgement of a school on it place in a league table.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:05 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
sandy09 wrote:
The gap between grammars and non selectives (especially non faiths) is too significant ie 99% vs 50%.

A comprehensive school takes all abilities. The simple law of maths says that 50% of the pupils will be above average ability and 50% will be below average ability.

Any comprehensive school achieving above 50% is probably doing a pretty good job, and Progress 8 is a far better measure of the quality of teaching.

It's easy for the grammars to get 100% GCSE results in tables such as this, given that their intake is of higher ability, but you will find that their Progress 8 scores are far exceeded by some very good all-ability schools.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:09 pm 
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Location: East Kent
SteveDH wrote:
Very roughly speaking because they are not selective..
A selective school creams off the top 10% where as a non selective school also has the other 90% of pupils.
So if a non selective school has a good performing top stream and gets about 10% the score of a selective school then its effectively getting equivalent results.

Ok there are a lot of pretty poor non selective schools that have set their sights low and so are underperforming, but don't just base your judgement of a school on it place in a league table.


In East Kent the grammars take around the top 25% (we have an opt-in policy) in Bucks it is more like the top third.


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