The ASTI is opposed to the publication of school league tables of Department of Education and Science examination results. League tables do not tell us anything about the performance of schools and are not a valid measure of school effectiveness.
The ASTI believes that such selective and simplistic information puts schools under pressure to jettison those aspects of education provision which do not contribute to an improvement in a position on the league table, and thus there is a danger that education will tend towards the easily measured with the consequent impoverishment of education and neglect of the pastoral, social, caring, cultural and physical dimension.
University Entry Tables
In recent times certain newspapers have published university entry tables for a select number of third level institutions. This narrow focus is damaging not only to hundreds and thousands of students who work hard to reach their potential but also to the education system and Irish society as a whole.
Leagues tables of examination results or enrolments to particular universities do not take into account the pupil intake of the school. This means they ignore factors such as the education attainment of pupils on entry, the proportion of pupils with special educational needs, or the socio-economic backgrounds of pupils. Schools which directly or indirectly operate selection mechanisms at entry will do better in league tables whilst schools with no selective policies and a wide student cohort may appear under this blunt process as under performing.
The core objective of education is to help every student develop as an individual. The publication of selective information such as league tables and college entry tables violates the principle of treating all students equally in that one aspect of a person’s ability or talents is prioritised above all others. There is therefore a growing danger that schools will prioritise the work that contributes to examination results at the expense of working with students whose strengths lies elsewhere.