Predicting GCSE results (Liverpool 9 – Sunderland 1)

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Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool FC, has been in the game of football long enough to know that making predictions about winning the Premier League is unhelpful.

In an interview with Goal, his thoughts were measured as usual:

“The main thing is that we actually think about ourselves: ‘Yeah, we are quite a good team.’ We have big expectations on ourselves and I’m not pessimistic, I’m really optimistic, but I don’t like to make these positive assessments all the time and say ‘we are really good – how good are we?’

[1]

He is optimistic, and he has expectations, but there is no way he is going to say Liverpool are going to win the Premier League.

With the new GCSEs looming next summer, schools are desperate to know if they are going to win the league, avoid relegation, or be lost to the Championship. In their desperation, they are turning to tests to predict success or failure.

Another test is just like another match; they provide just a little more information to throw into a noisy picture. It’s a bit like saying, hold on, let’s just play Sunderland and I’ll know how we are going to do. Playing Sunderland may help clarify whether Sturridge can play himself back into goal scoring form, but it won’t help you predict your final position [2].

Sensible football managers don’t make predictions, they set targets. Take this, from Garry Wilson, the manager of Eastbourne Borough,

“If we can just get another couple of home wins and try to set ourselves a target of maybe 30 points before Christmas, we’ll be well on the way.”[3]

A couple of home wins, a few more points on the board, that’s what the sensible manager focuses on. Klopp isn’t interested in how good Liverpool are, he knows progress is a bumpy path [4],

“I know about the problems we could have in the future, and we need to stay in the race.”

Measure your progress, stay in the race, and leave the pundits to make predictions. If you do make predictions, it may well be you at the start of next season presenting to your staff meeting in your underpants[5].

[1] http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2016/11/16/29579332/klopp-we-dont-have-to-celebrate-too-much-we-know-were-a?ICID=OP

[2] https://educationdatalab.org.uk/2016/02/dont-try-to-forecast-progress-8/

[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/e/eastbourne_borough/8271216.stm

[4] https://educationdatalab.org.uk/2015/03/why-measuring-pupil-progress-involves-more-than-taking-a-straight-line/

[5] http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37074641

By | 2016-12-07T12:55:01+00:00 November 23rd, 2016|Exams and assessment, School improvement|

About the Author:

Chris Wheadon is a Research Associate at Education Datalab and is one of the UK’s leading experts in assessment. He is the Founder of No More Marking Ltd, a company that uses comparative judgement to assess work more accurately than traditional marking techniques. He has designed the Proof of Progress tests from FFT.

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