General Chat Thread, Poor Journalism (and maths!) in General; From BBC Website There were twice as many outstanding schools - and half as many inadequate - compared with four ...
1. ## Poor Journalism (and maths!)

From BBC Website
There were twice as many outstanding schools - and half as many inadequate - compared with four years ago, said Ms Gilbert.

This means that about 30% of schools are in the satisfactory or inadequate category.
I believe the above statements/reporting would tax a mathematical genius to equate them.

In my world if statements say

Outsanding Today = 2 x (Outstanding 4 Years ago)

Its pretty tricky to get to - therefore 30% are Satisfactory or Inadequate !

But my main gripe is to lump Satisfactory and Inadequate in same sentence implying that they are much the same as each other

Satisfactory means OK. It means a pass. It means not Inadequate.
For some schools to get satisfactory, given the parameters they are judged by, is absolutely fine.
Not everyone can be a 1st violinist.
It makes my blood boil

regards
Simon

2. Yeah, agree that the three statements could well be true on their own, but on the face of it there's no causality there. I'm feeling generous and suggesting it could be bad editing . . . .

However, coming back to your gripe, surely we should be aiming for an education system where the majority of schools are above average?

3. By definition the majority cannot be above average. At least it was when I went to school. It would surely raise the average?

4. Originally Posted by seacider
By definition the majority cannot be above average. At least it was when I went to school. It would surely raise the average?
Nooooooo, I take it back! I think what started as a stupid joke actually is right (joke's on me, eh?)

seacider, I think you're right - for a normal distribution.

However, we don't want a bell curve, we want a distribution weighted heavily at the 'good' end.

I can illustrate this with a sum.

Let's imagine that we can give scores to schools for how good they are. I dunno, perhaps some arbitrary scale from 1 to 4, where 1 is inadequate and 4 is outstanding. I know it seems implausible, but bear with me.

You've got four schools, and three of them are outstanding (score = 4) and one of them is inadequate (score = 1). Average score is 3.25, and so three of the schools are above average, one is below.

5. Why not just use mode instead of mean? The government wants the median not to be central, it wants it to be Good or Outstanding.

I simply don't think it is possible. There will always be 'problem schools' due to a few simple reasons.

1. Some areas contain above average (heh) concentrations of below average ability kids - therefore the schools results will always be low.
2. Some kids just have a set ability - they'll not improve. This could be due to home-life reasons, economic reasons or simply that they aren't smart...
3. The metrics for measuring progress may be incorrect. For example, I know of some schools in 3 tier areas where the first schools have exaggerated the ability of the pupils when they leave, so then when the kids make poor progress in the first year of the middle school it looks like the middle school is failing.
4. Progress during transfer years is *always* lower than non-transfer years. This is simply psychology. The kids are in a new building, with new people etc... so it takes time for them to settle in.

I think the government should stop pratting about with statistics and speak to the schools themselves. Teachers and heads *know* what they are failing at.

6. ## Thanks to localzuk from:

bossman (25th November 2009)

7. Originally Posted by theriver
I'm feeling generous and suggesting it could be bad editing
I'm not sure BBC News even have editors. If they do, then they certainly don't check all the articles; some of them are so badly written that I have to wonder if they are written by interns.

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