Best Practice

Making data meaningful in inspections

Ofsted’s recent inspection update urges schools to focus on ‘meaningful data’ and warns about the misuse of data. Specialist Stephen Rollett advises

It is important to keep data in perspective. And importantly, it is the inspectorate itself that is urging caution. If you have not yet read Ofsted’s School Inspection Update: Special edition from September 2017 I would urge you to do so. Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director of education, makes the point that what really matters is meaningful data.

So, what is “meaningful data” and how best can we use it at inspection time?

Validity is essential when using data. And group size has been a barrier to valid judgement in recent years. The tendency to draw big conclusions from very small groups of pupils has led to some poor data practice.

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