Scrap the use of central data?

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Ben Newmark’s, TES article about the use of target grades was clear, well supported and unambiguous in its condemnation. Using terms such as ‘voodoo’, ‘damaging’ and ‘very silly’ he set out a case for the condemnation of the prevailing approach. What he made less clear was landscape after they are scraped.

Target grades cannot be abstracted from the current progress and attainment focus. Those grades for the basis of school performance comparisons, performance management and school development aspirations.

While the demise of unthinking restatements of grades by students and staff is to be welcomed, this does not amount to a satisfactory condemnation of the data. The material is neither good nor bad. It is the context and application that makes it so.

Once again, the issue for school leadership is one of professional dialogue. How is the data understood? What are its appropriate applications? How will we review its success? These are features of a professional discussion that is seriously undermined by a central government pressure to adopt a single solution.

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