National Grammar Schools Association
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Comprehensives outshine grammars for added value in the run-up to GCSEs

15th January 2004

The Independent

Comprehensives are outshining grammars in getting the best out of their pupils in the run-up to GCSEs, exam tables released today show...

The results have refuelled the debate over the future of the country’s remaining 164 grammar schools. Headteachers and Labour MPs argued that the results meant supporters of selection were premature in using test results for 14-year-olds to claim that grammar schools were the best.

Relevant Links:
But please see ‘Value Added and the Grammar Schools’ for an explanation of how the value-added calculations are designed to disadvantage grammar schools.

Extract: "The added value data for selective schools seems less good at KS4. Why is this?
This is because the methodology used to calculate added value effectively prevents the most able students in selective schools from adding any value at GCSE. The expected performance of each pupil in KS4 is recalculated on the basis of their achievement in KS3. In 2001 many pupils in selective schools achieved two or more level 8 grades in the KS3 tests, placing them in the top 1% of the cohort. For those pupils to maintain this standard they would have to obtain GCSE grades in the top 1% of the cohort ie A* grades. Because the A* grade represents a ceiling of GCSE achievement, a significant proportion of pupils in selective schools are not able to add value, the best they can do is to break even. The methodology used further disadvantages selective schools by capping GCSE achievement to 8 GCSEs and discounting AS and A2 grades taken early.”