League tables: doctors warned to think again

December 07, 2000

School' experience of league tables should make doctors think again

A letter in this week's BMJ reports on the dysfunctional effects of league tables in education and suggests that these effects may apply to some of the issues surrounding league tables in the health sector.

Researchers at the University of Durham surveyed heads and teachers from 54 randomly selected primary schools in England (with league tables) and Scotland (without league tables). Not surprisingly they found that, compared with Scottish schools, English schools were more likely to concentrate on meeting their targets at the expense of other important objectives, that target setting had a narrowing effect on the curriculum and had increased the "blame culture."

What is surprising, say the authors, was the substantially greater degree of dysfunction reported in English schools than in Scottish schools, although schools in both countries seemed to be under similar pressure to meet targets. This suggests that having league tables does not necessarily apply greater pressure than other less public techniques, they add.

These findings should give pause for thought, say the authors, and they warn that careful consideration should be given to the unintended consequences of league tables.

Andy Wiggins (Peter Tymms), University of Durham, UK
Email: andy.wiggins@durham.ac.uk


Related Education Articles from Brightsurf:

Applying artificial intelligence to science education
A new review published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching highlights the potential of machine learning--a subset of artificial intelligence--in science education.

Dementia education
School-based dementia education could deliver much needed empathy and understanding for older generations as new research from the University of South Australia shows it can significantly improve dementia knowledge and awareness among younger generations.

How can education researchers support education and public health and institutions during COVID-19?
As education researchers' ongoing work is interrupted by school closures, what can they do to support education and public health institutions dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic?

Online education platforms could scale high-quality STEM education for universities
Online and blended (online and in-person) STEM instruction can produce the same learning outcomes for students as traditional, in-person classes at a fraction of the cost, finds research published today in Science Advances.

Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.

The new racial disparity in special education
Racial disparity in special education is growing, and it's more complex than previously thought.

Education may be key to a healthier, wealthier US
A first-of-its-kind study estimate the economic value of education for better health and longevity.

How education may stave off cognitive decline
Prefrontal brain regions linked to higher educational attainment are characterized by increased expression of genes involved in neurotransmission and immunity, finds a study of healthy older adults published in JNeurosci.

Does more education stem political violence?
In a study released online today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, three Norwegian researchers attempt to bring clarity to this question by undertaking the first systematic examination of quantitative research on this topic.

Individual education programs not being used as intended in special education
Gone are the days when students with disabilities were placed in a separate classroom, or even in a completely different part of the school.

Read More: Education News and Education Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.