I predicted some headlines yesterday and blogged about the use of MEANs to represent data sets. (See GCSE results: are they Mean?)
Having looked at the headlines from various papers and online communities, I think I can sigh and say “told you so”.
Let’s have a look at some of the nonsense that’s put out as “data” -
“The gap between girls and boys receiving grades A*-A is at it’s widest since the top grade was introduced in 1994 – 26.5% of girls achieved A*-A compared to 19.8% of boys” (Full article here)
- Knowing the percentages doesn’t matter — what where the cohort sizes of each?
- More boys might have achieved B and C grades, meaning that Boys did better at passing
- What was the innate ability of the cohorts? Value adds for boys might be far better than for girls
- “Is at it’s widest” — so what – what was it before, and how much has it grown?
South Wales ArgusBoys fall behind again THIS year’s GCSE results show boys are falling further behind girls, particularly in top grades. (Full article here)
- “Boys are falling further behind” implies that Boys are failing in some way. Maybe they are doing exceptionally well given their innate abilities
- What subjects are we talking about? GCSE only – what about vocational courses?
- Are more boys defined as AEN than girls?