The decision to drop decile rankings from Education Review Office reports is designed to stop link between rank and performance:
A school’s decile rating will no longer be shown on its Education Review Office report, following a decision announced today.
ERO says it has taken the decision to remove the rating from its reports in an effort to correct the stereotype that a school’s decile equals performance.
Dr Graham Stoop, Chief Review Officer for the Education Review Office, says that for some time there has been public confusion about the purpose of the decile rating and what it actually means.
“The decile rating system is a mechanism used by the Ministry of Education to make funding available to schools. Too often it is seen as a rating of the quality of the education which a school provides and this is simply not correct.
“By removing the decile rating from ERO’s reports we hope to help remove this element of confusion and correct this misconception.
Dr Stoop says ERO’s reports are designed to give parents an assessment of the quality of education provided by schools for learners.
“We have decided that decile has no part to play in our reports.”
The decile ranking reflects the income of its catchment but it’s a fairly blunt instrument.
A few years ago Waitaki Boys’ and Waitaki Girls’ High schools had different rankings even though they were in the same town and had pupils from the same catchment.
One measure the decile ranking is based on is the number of people and bedrooms in a house.
That means small towns with a lot of retired people, like Oamaru or Alexandra, score highly because they have single people or couples in homes with two or more bedrooms. These houses aren’t overcrowded but that’s not a reliable indication of the inhabitants’ wealth let alone that of unrelated homes housing school children.
Country schools usually score higher decile ratings because the value of farms and size of farm houses skew the average, even if there are a lot of low income people in townships in the school catchment.
As a generalisation pupils in higher decile schools are more likely to come from homes with better educated parents and the reverse is true for those in lower decile schools. That could make it easier or more difficult for teachers but ought not to have anything to do with the quality of education a school provides.