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2009-09-10 League tables questions

posted Sep 9, 2009, 9:30 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 14, 2009, 3:49 PM by Eddie Woo ]

A league table is a table that ranks organisations or groups in order of their achievements.

Reasons for:

  • Changing nature of work - league tables provide feedback for schools, allowing a school to check if it is meeting standards and whether or not the school needs to work harder
  • Decision support - league tables provide feedback to the government as to which schools need more funding/support (perhaps down to individual faculties e.g. English, Maths)
  • Reward - league tables provide well-deserved recognition of outstanding schools
  • Decision support - league tables can help students decide which school they should attend
  • Transparency of data - league tables may defend against corruption by exposing schools which are not meeting standards

Reasons against:

  • Data reliability - league tables may not be an accurate reflection of a school's quality, as the values (weightings) of criteria are subjective
  • Data reliability - if the tests used to obtain the league table data are poorly-written or do not test for the right course outcomes, the final product would also be poor
  • Data completeness - a league table is based only on basic skills such as numeracy, literacy; it would be unable to take into account other factors
  • Privacy - the privacy of individuals may be at risk depending on how the data for league tables is collected (particularly if the names of individual students are recorded)
  • Public safety - as it is apparent that there is a great deal of strong public opinion against league tables, the publication of league tables could potentially results in a violent lashback from the affected communities
  • Cost - it may be extremely costly to produce the league tables, and it can be argued that money spent on league tables could be better spent elsewhere
  • Diversity of education - one of the strongest arguments against league tables is that they encourage teachers to only teach students how to do well in basic skills tests, hence limiting their ability in other fields and producing a generation with a very narrow set of skills
  • Unnecessary - it is maintained that "reliable school performance information is already available"
Emerging trends in information technology:
  • Ease of collection - the data is very easily collected using modern computer technology, the use of which is an emerging trend; this is in contrast with traditional methods such as paper record-keeping
  • Ease of analysis - data collected with computer technology can easily be manipulated and analysed; rank information can be generated in mere seconds
  • Collection of personally-identifiable information - there is an increasing trend for organisations, companies, and groups to gather personally-identifiable information; hence, people affected by the publication of league tables are justifiably paranoid that personally-identifiable data will be collected
Propose an argument for/against:
 
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