Making the Government Account for Accountability

In a recent LKMCo article I suggested that ‘accountability measures are eating themselves’ as the DfE are poised to introduce a new performance measure designed to correct errors in a previous (yet-still-to-be-published) measure.

The problem for the new measure is that they didn’t heed the advice of Dr Rebecca Allen who told the government that if they wanted to report on ‘low, middle and high’ ability groups of students then those groups should be comparable across schools.  The DfE did not listen.  In my blog I made the case that this means comparisons across schools are unfair.

Several journalist colleagues therefore declared they will not misuse the stastics. Unfortunately the Telegraph did not comply and wrote a story making the exact mistake I warned against prompting an outcry on Twitter from people using the initial LKMCo blog as evidence.

To further support my point Rebecca Allen ran the figures comparing the DfE’s version of her measure to her more accurate one. The results are fascinating and can be found on her website here, showing that the DfE figure vastly favours schools where students have a high ability profile on entry.

The initial defence was that this was because the data was not readily available to the DfE. Rebecca Allen disagreed. The Department are now reviewing the case. I am slightly concerned somewhere a statistician is about to be shot.