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School quality ratings are weak predictors of students' achievement and well-being

von Stumm, S; Smith-Woolley, E; Cheesman, R; Pingault, J-B; Asbury, K; Dale, PS; Allen, R; ... Plomin, R; + view all (2020) School quality ratings are weak predictors of students' achievement and well-being. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 10.1111/jcpp.13276. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: In England, all state-funded schools are inspected by an independent government agency, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted). Inspections aim to hold schools accountable and to promote the improvement of education, with the results made available to the public. Ofsted reports intend to index school quality, but their influence on students' individual outcomes has not been previously studied. The aim of the current study was to explore the extent to which school quality, as indexed by Ofsted ratings, is associated with students' educational achievement, well-being and school engagement. METHODS: We use an England population-based sample of 4,391 individuals, for whom school performance at age 11 and GCSE grades at age 16 were accessed from the National Pupil Database, and who completed measures of well-being and school engagement at age 16. RESULTS: We found that Ofsted ratings of secondary school quality accounted for 4% of the variance in students' educational achievement at age 16, which was further reduced to 1% of the variance after we accounted for prior school performance at age 11 and family socioeconomic status. Furthermore, Ofsted ratings were weak predictors of school engagement and student well-being, with an average correlation of .03. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that differences in school quality, as indexed by Ofsted ratings, have little relation to students' individual outcomes. Accordingly, our results challenge the usefulness of Ofsted ratings as guides for parents and students when choosing secondary schools.

Type: Article
Title: School quality ratings are weak predictors of students' achievement and well-being
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.13276
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.13276
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Ofsted, School quality, educational achievement, school engagement, well-being
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100663
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