Are OFSTED Judgements Reliable?

Scenes From The Battleground

One of the properties required for any assessment to be credible, is that it is reliable. Roughly speaking, this property requires that the assessment would, if repeated or carried out by somebody else, give the same result. One of the difficulties with OFSTED is that, as inspections of a school are usually separated by enough of a period of time for a significant change to have happened, and no two schools are identical, it is hard to assess whether judgements differ because of genuine differences in performance or because of inconsistencies in the inspection procedure.

In order to determine reliability it would be necessary to carry out two OFSTED inspections of the same school at (roughly) the same time, and see if they came to the same conclusion. Although this sort of experiment would help ensure reliability it is not something that, to my knowledge, is part of OFSTED’s…

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