Noted UK statistician Professor Harvey Goldstein from Bristol University will present an Open Lecture, “Parental choice and league tables’’ at the QCA Lecture Theatre on Wednesday, October 27.

His talk will focus on the use of school ranking measurements such as NAPLAN.

“These rankings are widely published in the media and utilised by schools in their promotional literature,” Professor Goldstein said.

“Those institutions seen to be high or low in the rankings are often singled out for praise or condemnation on the assumption that the position in the rankings can be treated as a measure of the quality of their educational provision.

“We now know that this is problematic and the publication of such league tables can have perverse side effects.”

Each year the UK government publishes schools’ GCSE results and value-added performance in school league tables to enable parents to make informed choice of secondary schools.

“A crucial limitation of these tables is that the most recent published information is based on the performance of a cohort of pupils who entered secondary schools seven years earlier,” Professor Goldstein said.

“However, for choosing a school it is the future performance of the current cohort that is of interest. And crucially, no adjustment is made for the statistical uncertainty that arises from making predictions into the future.”

Professor Goldstein will also discuss Australia’s My School website and comment on its effectiveness as an accurate tool for parental school selection.

Professor Goldstein is responsible for one of the most widely-used multi-level data analysis programs in the world. He works extensively in the area of education, held a professorial position at the Institute of Education, University of London and is currently Professor of Social Statistics at the University of Bristol.

WHAT: Griffith Institute for Educational Research Open Lecture — Professor Harvey Goldstein — “Parental choice and league tables’’

WHEN: Wednesday, October 27, 4pm-6pm

WHERE: Queensland College of Art lecture theatre, S05, 2.04