Tuesday 21 November 2017

Tables pressure on schools to steer students to third level

Education is about the social, moral and physical development of teens just as much as the academic

‘Statistics are as important for what they don’t measure as what they do’ (stock image) Photo: PA
‘Statistics are as important for what they don’t measure as what they do’ (stock image) Photo: PA
Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

If you are a principal of a secondary school and league tables emerge, the first thing is the rush to check your position. A bit like checking the Premiership table on a Sunday morning.

Last week this newspaper printed the six years tables from 2009 to 2015, so it does give a good indication on trends. You can be sure that parents in particular paid more than a passing interest in them too especially if they have a child at primary level and they have a choice of secondary school. In many cases there is no such choice.

When the idea of league tables was first mooted there was shock and horror from the unions who felt that these tables did not reflect the good work of teachers in some challenging situations. Now they are out in the open and the world has not caved in. My impression is that these publications have put pressure on schools to perform and resulted in changes in management style, subject choices and a load of other things, but most importantly, teacher performance has improved.

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