Updated: Nov 16, 2020
With CIE results released last week, and Edexcel soon to release theirs, schools are busily analysing their IGCSE and A Level results and preparing statistics & infographics to share with the wider parent community.
As parents, we like numbers. They are concrete, black and white, easy to understand. And in competitive international schooling markets in Asia, these statistics give us something solid with which to compare schools.
However, the number of A-A* grades and A*-C grades are just a starting point. There is another very important type of data that schools use - and that we, as parents, should be asking to see when we are trying to choose between schools. It's called value added (or 'residual') data.
What is Value-Added, or 'Residual' data?
In a nutshell, value-added data shows how much (or how little) progress a student has made during their schooling.
One website explains it nicely as follows : "Value Added is the actual difference a school makes to the educational attainment of students between Years 7 and 11 and is all about comparing start and end points, student by student, and then measuring the difference travelled."
Basically, value-added/residual data shows how much 'extra' achievement a child has made, when you take into account their natural ability. In a nutshell: it can be one way of determining how effective the teaching has been. That's why almost all international schools use 'residual data' as an indicator of Faculty achievement, rather than the amount of A/A* grades alone.
Where does the data come from?
Most international schools use testing to determine a child's 'starting point', or baseline ability. Each student sits a test at the start of Year 10. They can't really study or prepare for it. The online test has 3 sections and lasts around an hour. It's adaptive, so the questions change and get easier or harder depending on the student's performance throughout.
A common test for British schools is YELLIS. CEM