About Rebecca Allen

Rebecca Allen is Director of Education Datalab and an expert in the analysis of large scale administrative and survey datasets, including the National Pupil Database and School Workforce Census. Her research explores the impact of government reforms on school behaviour, with a particular focus on accountability and teacher labour markets. She is currently on leave from her academic post as Reader in Economics of Education at UCL Institute of Education.

Provisional KS4 data 2016: Grammar schools reporting fantastic Progress 8 scores? Not so fast…

Today’s provisional Key Stage 4 data shows a strong Progress 8 performance from grammar schools, and a negative Progress 8 score for those calling themselves secondary moderns. But the positive results of the grammars seem to more than outweigh the negative results of secondary moderns. So, should we use this data to claim that selection [...]

By | October 13th, 2016|Exams and assessment, School accountability, Structures|

Provisional KS4 data 2016: Superstars and under the bars

Today will be a day of celebration for some schools, and concern for others, as the new Progress 8 performance measure re-sorts schools into piles. Some who did very well on the old 5 A*-C measure will find they are struggling under a progress measure that does not reward them simply for recruiting a high [...]

By | October 13th, 2016|Exams and assessment, School accountability|

Progress 8 is too favourable to grammar schools and understates secondary modern achievement

Progress 8 is the new measure by which secondary schools will be judged. It works by comparing each child’s achievement in eight subjects at GCSE with the average GCSE results for other children who got the same results in exams taken at age 11. The Department for Education designed it to incentivise schools to provide a [...]

By | September 16th, 2016|Admissions|

Grammar schools: four key research points

1. Academic selection creates winners and losers Children who attend grammar schools make more progress than they otherwise would, while children who attend non-selective schools in selective areas (secondary moderns) make less progress than they otherwise would. In any selective area, a majority of children will attend non-selective schools – the gains of those who [...]

By | September 14th, 2016|Admissions|

There is not yet a proven route to help disadvantaged pupils into grammar schools

Sections of the Tory party seem determined to open new grammar schools, or at least to expand provision at existing grammar schools. One condition of grammar expansion is likely to be that they make a greater effort to ensure that children from low income families can secure places. A minority of the existing 163 grammar [...]

By | September 8th, 2016|Admissions, Pupil demographics|

Consistency in Key Stage 2 writing across local authorities appears to be poor

The new Key Stage 2 tests measure quite different aspects of pupil attainment to the 2015 ones. Schools will differ in how well they have prepared for these new tests and here we explore the extent to which there are local authority differences in success rates across the new and old tests. The chart below [...]

By | September 1st, 2016|Exams and assessment|

At what age should we segregate our children?

Academic selection into separate schools tends to polarise commentators into those that think it is acceptable and those who think it is wrong. And yet most people agree that selection is acceptable at 18 and wrong at age 4. So the point of contention is surely what the right age to allow academic selection is. [...]

By | August 30th, 2016|Admissions, Pupil demographics|

The curious rise and rise of the religious studies GCSE

Yesterday's GCSE results showed schools strongly switching students away from non-EBacc subjects as they try to fill up the Progress 8 EBacc slots. Religious Studies GCSE, which was controversially not deemed to be suitable as an EBacc humanity, is one subject bucking this trend with yet another year-on-year increase in entries. However, this is not [...]

By | August 26th, 2016|Exams and assessment|

Repeat After ‘E’: the treadmill of post-16 GCSE maths and English retakes

Today will not be a happy occasion for the typical 17 year old re-taking GCSE maths and/or English. The government now requires them to continue studying these subjects if they did not achieve a grade C at age 16 and many are entered for these qualifications again after just a year of additional study. For [...]

By | August 25th, 2016|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|