Professor David Jesson from the University of York gives his view on issues arising from the #GenderGap conference.
One thing, though, really bothers me; if gender issues really are moving up the agenda, is why any reference to this factor is totally excluded from any of the official accountability reviews.
To report 'differences' between the genders is not at all the same thing as recognising that they have a direct impact on the progress which pupils make in different gender-balance schools. You cannot have it both ways - to do so as current policy insists is perverse in the extreme.
How demoralising is it, to tell schools with a predominance of one gender, that although the national data identifies that their results will almost inevitably be lower than if they had the opposite composition, they should not take this as evidence that their performance is being unfairly assessed, and that they just need to work harder!
It probably is time that the whole 'contextual' debate is re-visited, with this as one of the more pressing issues for inclusion in a fairer methodology.
Professor David Jesson FRSS
Centre for Performance Evaluation & Resource Management, Department of Economics & Related Studies, University of York
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