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Three-Tier System Results

Comparing Three-Tier results at GCSE with other schools – 2016 to 2018

How do students educated in three-tier systems do compared to those in other schools?

Those opposed to middle schools systems have in the past sought to portray the three tier system of schooling as somehow inherently flawed and unable to deliver good outcomes for pupils. Analysis of recent GCSE data shows that the opposite is the case.

2016

An analysis of the 2016 KS4 results reveals that students at 16 in three tier system upper schools achieve well in comparison to the national average for all state funded schools:

 

 

Percentage gaining grade C+ in Eng & Maths

Percentage achieving

E Bacc

National - 3 tier schools

67.8%

25.4%

National - All schools

63%

24.7%

 

These figures show the results for the 13,000 students who took KS4 exams in 2017 in upper and high schools. It is clear from both measures that the three tier schools are achieving consistently higher outcomes.

This strongly suggests that there is a significant difference here, that is probably independent of socio-economic background and is more likely to be indicative of the differences in the educational experiences offered on the two forms of schooling.  This may be due to the well-known deficit in progress associated with transfer at age eleven, while transfers between schools in three tier systems are not associated with such sharp changes of culture and climate between schools. Equally, it may be that the more broadly based curriculum experience that is generally offered at middle school in Key Stage 2 provides a better foundation for later progress in Key Stage 4.

2017

There were significant changes to the Key Stage 4 exams in 2017 that make direct comparison with 2016 results difficult. There is a good explanation of the main changes and the national 2017 outcomes here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/653532/SFR57_2017.pdf

In the following table, I have compared the results for students in three tier upper schools with all state funded schools. (The figures showing the percentage achieving at grade 4 and above in English and Maths are more comparable with the outcomes in 2016, but not directly equivalent.)

 

 

2017

Percentage achieving

E Bacc grade 4 and above

Percentage gaining  Eng & Maths at grade 4 and above

Percentage achieving

E Bacc grade 5 and above

Percentage gaining  Eng & Maths at grade 5 and above

National  - 3 tier schools

24%

68.1%

21.6%

45.7%

National - All schools

23.5%

63.3%

21.1%

42.2%

 

 

 

Again in 2017, it is clear that, whether considering the achievements at grade 4 or grade 5 and above, there is still a consistent trend, with students in three tier schools achieving higher outcomes than those in all schools.

The National Middle Schools’ Forum view has long been that the only fair way to compare two and three tier systems is to look at the outcomes from the two forms of schooling at 16. This is the common end point for both forms of schooling.

These figures highlight what has been clear to the middle school community for some time – that pupils in middle schools make very good progress during Year 7 and Year 8 in their final years at middle school. It has been a matter of some frustration that because of the focus on KS2 results this is not shown in any nationally available data.

 

2018

New for 2018 was the introduction of EBacc average points score as the headline measure of attainment. This measures the pupil’s point scores across the five pillars of the EBacc with zero for any missing pillars. This ensures that the attainment of all pupils is recognised, encouraging schools to enter pupils of all abilities.

The previous measures of those achieving at grade 4 and above and grade 5 and above have been retained for comparison in the following table:

 

 

2018

EBacc Average points score

Percentage achieving

E Bacc grade 4 and above

Percentage gaining  Eng & Maths at grade 4 and above

Percentage achieving

E Bacc grade 5 and above

Percentage gaining  Eng & Maths at grade 5 and above

National  - 3 tier schools

4.25

24.55%

70.36%

16.88%

47.32%

National - All schools

4.04

24.1%

63.9%

16.7%

43.0%

 

Once again in the summer of 2018 students in three tier systems have achieved higher outcomes than pupils in all schools, showing a consistent three trend in the results of students in three tier systems.

Conclusion

Far from the three tier system of schooling being somehow inherently flawed and unable to deliver good outcomes for pupils as some would have us believe, the evidence shows that students in upper and high schools achieve outcomes above the national average.

 

Nigel Wyatt

January 2019

 

- Thanks to the National Middle School Forum for this article. 

http://www.middleschools.org.uk/