How Reliable Are Ofsted Reports as a Measure of School Effectiveness?

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How reliable are Ofsted reports as a measure of school effectiveness?

This assignment examines the reliability of Ofsted judgements that were made on School X in 2009 and 2012. It will discuss how the two inspections were carried out-were they carried out in the same way? Were they felt to be fair?

School X is a large 3-11 mixed school with 35.1 % of pupils who are eligible for free school meals FSM. The pupils are mainly Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi. The proportion of special educational needs and disabled pupils is similar to other national schools. The attainment and progress in both English and mathematics meet the current government standards. (Ofsted report 2012).

How Ofsted reach an overall judgment about school effectiveness?

The inspectors reach the overall judgments by considering the four key areas: achievement of pupils, the quality of teaching, behavior and safety, leadership and management. Inspectors also consider the quality of the curriculum and how the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at the school. They will also look if the school is meeting the individual needs in particular the needs of special educational needs and disabled pupils. The judgment they make is based on the overall evidence they gather from their observation, parents, pupils, interviews and the raise online, which is “ a secure web-based system that provides schools, local authorities and inspectors with a range of analyses including:

Achievement at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2; Progress from Key Stage 1 to 2; Absence and exclusions; and The characteristics (often referred to as ‘context’) of pupils. (Dave Thomson, RM Education, 2011).

In addition, their judgments on the quality of teaching are based not only on classroom observations “snapshots”, but they are also checking pupils’ books, sequences of work, pupils’ academic progress and parents’ perspectives on their children’s progress.

Ofsted: A summary of Evidence.

Ofsted judgements on teaching through classroom observations face several challenges. First, there is the Hawthorne effect, whereby the pupils or the teacher might change their behaviour because an inspector in the room is a novel experience (Cohen and Manion 1994, Robson 2011). Additionally, Grubb (1999) stated that teachers complain that it is hard for inspectors to evaluate a full lesson from a “snapshot” as the unobserved part of the lesson may be crucial to interpreting what is happening in the observed part of the lesson. However, the above-mentioned methods that inspectors used to make a judgment on the quality of teaching mush be considered.

According to Mr Jonathan Harris, as cited in the report from the Education sub-committee (1999), he was critical of possible changeability of judgements between inspections team where he argued that different inspection teams could make different judgments about the same school in the inspection reports which he stated "unacceptable". Thus, there is no evidence which guarantee that Ofsted judgments are reliable. It is not just a matter of reliability as far as the validity of data concerned too. As Gorard (2009) points out, “if the initial relative error in either the actual or the predicted score is greater than 10%, as it almost certainly would be in reality, the error in the CVA result would be even greater than this, 40 times more than the size of the result itself.”, which makes serious doubts about the validity of the data.

On the other hand, Ofsted keep raising expectations and the criteria used by Ofsted which are shown in appendices 1-3 could be one of the causes that the school has a satisfactory in 2009.Figure 1 It is also necessary to consider the fact that Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector raises expectations to ensure a good education for all focusing on the quality of teaching “the heart of good education”. Thus, a proposal was conducted to improve the education system. (A Good Education for All...
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