Why Were Value-added League Tables Introduced?


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Will Martin answered
League tables were introduced in 1992 with the idea of giving parents more information about how well their local schools were performing. However, after a while it emerged that these tables were causing new problems. These included schools getting pupils to take more NVQs to push up the overall results, "teaching to the test" and, it was claimed, sometimes dissuading low-achieving students from taking certain exams at all, so that their poor results wouldn't damage the school's league table position.

So in 1997 the idea of improvement was introduced - looking at how much progress children had actually made, rather than their end grades - and the Value Added system soon followed. The idea was that you could better evaluate how good the school was by measuring how much it had helped pupils, than by monitoring exam results which could be more due to intake than school performance. It was a fair idea, but caused a lot of confusion as people were no longer sure how to judge a school's performance.

There is now a further measure which takes into account factors such as local poverty when measuring a child's progress. There is more information on the BBC news website at

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