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‘Caught in the tension between having to provide both key public accountability measures and data used to inform and steer improvement’. The dilemma identified by Kelly and Downey in their paper, has been a recurring theme in this journal and re-appears in Praslova’s paper in the context of higher education. The source of the tension is around three key areas: the choice of contextualising factors, secondly, issues around data and statistical modeling, and thirdly the construction and impact of policy.
Kelly and Downey’s argument is that although value-added data and, in particular, Contextual Value Added (or CVA) is integral to the policy thrust in England, providing as it does essential metrics for school effectiveness research, it fails to capture the essence of so much in school life and is a story untold in the data on differential effectiveness of schools.
Their paper tracks over time the Government’s increasing attempts to add value to their own data management by a progressive...