Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

ASCL members report Panda problems

An early warning about emerging problems with Panda data went out to members in the email newsletter in January.

Many members have reported errors in the 2005 'unvalidated' secondary Panda data, as well as difficulty in eliciting any response from Ofsted about getting these corrected.

ASCL members are advised to check their Panda carefully, and in particular to check the number of A* grades because this does appear to be a national problem.

If you are subject to an inspection this year, make sure that inspectors are aware of the issue. The error is especially worrying because Ofsted inspectors are now placing even greater weight on the CVA Panda data as part of the inspection process.

ASCL has raised concerns with Ofsted several times and is pushing for a central contact point to answer school/college queries on data. We have also urged Ofsted to do more to publicise the error to HMIs.

In the meantime, below is the explanation emailed to an ASCL member in Warwickshire from Ofsted's School Statistics Team:

"In the GCSE subject indicator 3.4.14, A* grades were incorrectly omitted...and so the analyses may underestimate performance. This affects only the subject indicator table 3.4.14 and does not affect any other analyses in the Panda.

"For example, the headline percentage achieving five A*-C grades includes all A* grades. Inspectors have been made aware of this issue in the Pandas.

"We are addressing this particular issue by producing a revised version of the Panda..." The revised Panda tables were due to be published on 27 January on www.ofstedpandas.gide.net

If you have particular issues, especially in relation to Ofsted, speak to or preferably email me on kdenn@aol.com, 0121 705 6087 or 07910 192451. Alternatively, members may contact the hotline on 0116 299 1122.

For updates as they occur, check the weekly e-newsletter. If you have not already registered to receive it, go to www.ascl.org.uk and log on to the members' section.

Keith Dennis, ASCL inspection consultant

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