After looking at George Leckie's recent exploration of the relationship between the DFE's new measure that includes the average grade based on the best 8 GCSE's I too thought I would have a look. Have a read here: http://theconversation.com/new-look-gcse-league-tables-reconfirm-wide-disparities-between-schools-22793
Click on the links below, to see the results and to follow the methodology for yourself.
To do this manually, I would firstly need to download the current performance tables from here: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/download/xls/england_ks4.csvThe file when opened looks like this:
Then I converted it into an Excel file. If you are not familiar with converting CSV files to Excel, you can download the Excel file.
To find the information that I would need to use, I also would need to download the metadata file from here: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/download/csv/ks4_meta.csv
I then identified that I need two columns of data from the KS4 performance tables. These are 'Percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A*-C or equivalents including A*-C in both English and mathematics GCSEs' or the data label 'PTAC5EM' at column 52 to be precise. In addition, I need to use data in the 'Average grade per pupil capped at the best 8 qualifications' column (data label: AVGRDPEPPCP or column 415).
As I want to create a scatter plot to show this relationship, I need to convert every item of data in the AVGRDPEPPCP column from the performance tables into a point score. To do this I used the following table: https://clc2.uniservity.com/GroupDownloadFile.asp?GroupID=399411&ResourceId=1858337
In converting the 'Average grade per pupil capped at the best 8 qualifications' for each school, I was then able to plot this against the Percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A*-C or equivalents including A*-C in both English and mathematics GCSEs data for each school.
The visualisation created resembled George Leckie's diagram (left) with a few exceptions (see right).
|Diagram 3 from http://theconversation.com/new-look-gcse-league-tables-reconfirm-wide-disparities-between-schools-22793 (accessed 13/2/14)||Diagram from Schooldata.org.uk (accessed 13/2/14)|
To remove some of the discrepancies, I then adjusted the filter to include only average grade score of 30+ which resulted in a significantly closer visualisation (as shown below) to that produced by Leckie (as above left). I did not remove other schools from this view (Leckie identifies that 8 outliers were removed in total and based on the representation below, I have only removed 1- however, it is quite clear which were removed and it is easy to speculate on the reasons why).
To provide a balanced evaluation, the chart produced by George Leckie does include grades as opposed to point scores along the vertical axis. However, the visualisation in schooldata.org.uk does allow you to identify a particular school or make comparisons against groups of schools.
In addition, it may take some people less time to do the above (either using Excel or other tools), I nevertheless hope it gives a clear understanding of what Schooldata.org.uk can do.
In total, the above visualisation took only a few minutes using schooldata. Watch the real-time video to see how schooldata.org.uk allows this to be done easily. It is only about 4 minutes long and includes the rationale for my doing this visualisation.
Using school data - video
To keep on top of current developments, access some free tools and find out more, create an account by following this link.
You can also follow me on twitter (@philbourne77).