Just written an Op Ed on the question of school national league tables. It tries to move the argument away from a political argument to a technical one. It’s part of my initiative to show how outcomes theory (outcomestheory.org) can provide a technical lens on debates that are current seen as largely political.
The outcomes theory principle is the Unequal Inputs Principle (the ‘level playing field’ principle – in the article called the Equivalent Input, Equivalent Outcome Principle) which states: Where the inputs of units being compared are equivalent, the raw outcomes from such units can be used to measure the relative performance of different units. Where inputs to units differ, the amount of improvement is a better measure of unit performance than just raw outcomes.
The Op Ed argues that if you are wanting to improve student performance you should look to see if you can develop a measure of value-added rather than just raw academic performance. This is because of the differing academic level of kids entering different schools. Whether you can develop a value-added measure is another question, but the clear problem with a raw score approach when it is used to incentivize teachers is that they will just move to schools which have pupils entering who are already functioning at a high academic level.