New blog on the relationship between Progress 8 and Ofsted judgments
July 20, 2018
Last week, the Education Datalab has released a blog exploring whether “Ofsted inspection judgments are biased against schools with large proportions of disadvantaged White British pupils”.
Exploring trends in 1,405 schools subject to a section 5 short Ofsted inspection, the researchers found that, in 90% of cases, schools with a Progress 8 score of -0.41 or worse received a Requires Improvement or Inadequate Ofsted judgement. This is significant as the “risk of achieving such a low progress 8 score is higher among the most disadvantaged schools with lower proportions of pupils with English as an additional language (EAL)”.
To explain this, Ofsted would argue that, due to issues around teacher recruitment and retention, the “quality of education … tends to be poorer” in the most disadvantaged schools. However, the counterargument is that the type of school attended has no impact on the Progress 8 score of some pupil groups – with the blog noting that it is unclear how “Ofsted … take account of less supportive home environments when inspecting schools”.
While of some concern, the blog post did note that this was not a new trend. On the contrary, although “much less pronounced for disadvantaged schools with low proportions of EAL pupils”, trends over time suggest that “the most disadvantaged schools are now more likely than in the recent past to be judged good or better if they are inspected”.
To conclude, the blog suggested that, even before Progress 8 was introduced, schools were likely to be judged as underperforming by Ofsted. As such, the blog called upon the school inspectorate to “recognise the system-wide issue that some demographic groups of pupils do not achieve as well as others” in their 2019 update to the Ofsted inspection framework.