Statistics commission issues critical judgement of DfES school league tables

The Statistics Commission is an independent non-departmental public body. It was set up in June 2000 to help ensure that official statistics are trustworthy and responsive to public needs. It aims to help improve the quality and relevance of official statistics by identifying areas that require improvement.

Following a formal request from myself that it look into the statistical validity of school league tables it has now published its views. In summary these are:

  1. Uncertainty estimates should be provided for each school in the form of a range rather than a single value.
  2. Explanatory information should be included pointing out that there may be other factors relevant to a school's performance which have not been taken account of.
  3. Published individual school data should become 'national statistics' and thus subject to a standard code of practice related to their quality.

The last point is explicitly intended to apply to all statistics, not just value added ones. While the first two points are couched in terms of value added data, the arguments used by the Commission apply with equal force to 'raw' performance tables where it would be illogical to have different standards of presentation.

Full details of the judgement and accompanying documentation is available at

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