Accuracy of Grade Predictions

Daryl Arnold made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Greenhead College

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Greenhead College.

Dear Greenhead College,

I would like to receive a full and comprehensive breakdown of your colleges predictions for 'A'-Level grades for the last ten years. I would like each years' breakdown to be split subject and within that split by tutor. I would like to see the predicted grade and the achieved grade for each and every prediction made over the period. I am not interested in identification of the individual students so am happy for these to be anonymised but I do wish to see the names of the tutors.

Please can you provide this in a spreadsheet format, one spreadsheet for each year using a separate tab for each subject within each spreadsheet and separating out tutors within each subject by heading.

Yours faithfully,

D I Arnold

Greenhead College

Dear Mr Arnold
Re: Freedom of Information request - Accuracy of Grade Predictions
Thank you for your request for the above made on 14 April 2015 10:41. Further to this, the College declines to provide this information under the following exemption:
Section 36 – Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs:
Section 36 relates to information that if disclosed would adversely affect the delivery of effective public services. It is the effect that disclosure of information would have, rather than the type of information itself that is key in considering the application of section 36. Section 36 is designed to protect information whose disclosure:
(b) would, or would be likely to, inhibit –
i. the free and frank provision of advice, or
ii. the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation
(c) would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.

In terms of the information you have requested, the College seeks at all times to provide advice and guidance to students by way of predicted grades in a responsible, supportive and caring manner based on the professional judgement of teachers. Our teachers have extensive knowledge of A Level standards and the abilities of students through periods of assessment and acquaintance with their work in which many factors will be taken into consideration. The College judges that Information of the kind you request can be highly misleading and would, if in the public domain, be unreasonably prejudicial to responsible advice and guidance for students that must be tailored to their individual circumstances under conditions of confidentiality.

The College judges that there cannot be a public interest in data used for its reasonable own internal requirements, that relates to sensitive advice and guidance, which would be damaged by its disclosure. We always have detailed supportive discussions with students and where appropriate their parents and guardians, concerning their predicted grades. The College has an exemplary track record of results from students of all level of ability and feel that relatedly, our advice and guidance can be considered good. For some students, with whom we have a fiduciary relationship, the quality of such advice would be significantly detrimentally affected by the availability of the information you request.

The College now considers this request a closed matter.

Regards

Greenhead College Administration.

________________________________________
From: Daryl Arnold [[FOI #263747 email]]
Sent: 14 April 2015 10:41
To: Greenhead College
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Accuracy of Grade Predictions

Dear Greenhead College,

I would like to receive a full and comprehensive breakdown of your colleges predictions for 'A'-Level grades for the last ten years. I would like each years' breakdown to be split subject and within that split by tutor. I would like to see the predicted grade and the achieved grade for each and every prediction made over the period. I am not interested in identification of the individual students so am happy for these to be anonymised but I do wish to see the names of the tutors.

Please can you provide this in a spreadsheet format, one spreadsheet for each year using a separate tab for each subject within each spreadsheet and separating out tutors within each subject by heading.

Yours faithfully,

D I Arnold

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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Greenhead College,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Greenhead College's handling of my FOI request 'Accuracy of Grade Predictions'.

I have read your reply quoting Section 36 and dispute that it would apply. If your position is as described then I would expect that you would also feel it wrong to publish A-Level results and yet that is not the case. I would also argue that the accuracy of your predictions is in many cases more important than your ability to achieve actual results as it is the predictions that will determine whether a student can pursue certain higher level degrees. The accuracy of your predictions and your reluctance to exercise reasonable flexibility should be in the public domain so that prospective students know whether their desire to pursue certain university degrees could be blocked by the College even prior to the UCAS process.

Also my understanding of S36 means that you cannot deny provision of the information by claiming exemption unless it is clearly against the public interest, publication of this information could not by any reasonable measure be claimed as against the public interest as it should form a key part of students' decisions for their A-Level choices:

Section 36 provides an exemption if disclosure would or would
be likely to:
(a) prejudice collective responsibility or the equivalent in Wales
and Northern Ireland;
(b) inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or exchange
of views; or
(c) otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.
- Other than for statistical information, s36 requires the
authority’s ‘qualified person’ to give their ‘reasonable opinion’
that disclosure would or would be likely to cause the types of
prejudice or inhibition listed above.
- It is a qualified exemption, other than for information held by
Parliament. This means that even if the exemption applies, the
public authority must still disclose the information unless the
public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the
public interest in disclosing the information.
- It should always be possible for a public authority to carry out
an internal review, at least to reconsider the public interest
test.

Additionally, section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act required the college to inform me of my right of appeal when refusing your request, you failed to do so in your reply.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

Daryl Arnold

Greenhead College

Dear Mr Arnold
Thank you for your appeal against our decision concerning your FOI request. Further to this, we have considered our handling of your request and the substance of your further claim with the following outcome:
1 We uphold our original decision, as fully stated in our first response, that there is no public interest in disclosing statistics which would prejudice our ability to give our students advice as of section 36. This is our final decision.
2 Your right to an appeal notification is noted; we would also inform you that data relating to your request exists. If you are not content with the outcome your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Regards
Greenhead College Administration.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Greenhead College

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
ICO Case reference: FS50 582354

I write following receipt of correspondence from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in relation to the above case.
We are currently preparing our response to the ICO. As part of their investigation, they seek a copy of the requested information. This has caused us to consider, for the first time, the resource required to locate and retrieve the information subject to your request.
Your request of 14th April 2015 sought 10 years of data. This data is held only in paper format for seven of the last 10 years. We therefore wish to claim the Section 12 exemption for the request – because we estimate that the cost of compliance would exceed the appropriate limit.
This is based on our estimate of the time required to (i) search each student file for the predicted and actual grade information and (ii) enter the data onto data entry software to capture the data. Any queries or exceptions – for example, to validate the accuracy of a grade – would add further time.
Even with a highly conservative time of only one minute per file, we estimate it would take 99 hours to locate and retrieve the information contained in the seven years of paper files (2004-05 through to 2010-11). On top of this, we estimate it would take a further 14 hours to locate, retrieve and extract the information held electronically (2011-12 through to 2013-14), making a total of 113 hours.
We believe this estimate meets the criteria defined by case law, and that the application of this exemption at this stage in proceeding is, as stated in the ICO’s guide, permissible.
We also recognise our obligations to provide advice and assistance to those seeking information.
• As noted above, we estimate that we could locate, retrieve and extract the information held electronically (three years, 2011 to 2014) within the cost limit.

• We also estimate that we could locate, retrieve and extract the information within the cost limit for one year where the information is held on paper (2004 to 2011).
Please consider the above advice and guidance and let me know how you wish us to proceed.
Kind regards

Greenhead College Administration

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Greenhead College,

As the parent of a victim of the college's poor judgment and intransigence in the process of grade prediction I feel having this information in the public domain is vitally important so that prospective parents and students can judge the whole picture. For courses in the medical arena or Oxbridge an ill-judged under prediction can cut off access for a student before they even start the UCAS process, over the course of a career lifetime this could amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost potential income, considerably more than the cost you are estimating to produce these statistics.

Being able to deliver top grades is of little consequence if the college chooses to deny the opportunity to have a full spectrum of choice during the UCAS process by not being able to predict accurately or by not working cooperatively with students who wish to push themselves to exceed initial predictions.

I am surprised that your records are not electronic as it would seem to me that the College itself should also be interested in their performance in this area and use of such data would be one of your KPIs. I feel that to properly judge trends and patterns 4 years of data would be insufficient and so I stand by my original request. I will leave it to the ICO to decide whether your exemption claim is justified.

Yours sincerely,

Daryl Arnold