GCSE Results data on schools provided to universities

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to obtain a copy of the data regarding school GCSE performance that is produced by the DCSF and provided to universities to allow them to analyze GCSE performance of undergraduate applicants in the context of the applicant's school.

I would also like to obtain a list of universities which this data is supplied to, and any information you have on how they're using this data.

Yours faithfully,

Imran Ghory

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Dear Imran,
Your request is a little difficult and unusual. Most requests we receive
ask for particular statistics, particular schools, particular years.

We do not specifically provide universities with school GCSE performance
data for them to analyse the performance of undergraduate students in the
context of the applicant's school in the way you describe.

So, in that sense, we cannot meet your request.
However, the school performance tables are available on DCSF websites -
and, of course, they are designed to show how well a school is performing
and allow comparisons between schools.

We do release that wide range of GCSE performance measures at school
level. Additionally, we do from time to time receive FOI (and other
requests) from universities. FOI requesters do not have to, and often do
not, explain what they intend to do with the data.

The data on our school performance tables website would certainly allow
universities, pupils, parents (anyone who knows an individual's exam
results) to compare against the school average.
The distinction should be clear. We do not provide information to
universities asking them, instructing them, etc to use the school
performance data in the particular way you describe. However, the data we
routinely release would allow them to do that if they chose to.

I hope you'll understand in that context (with school GCSE performance
data being readily available on websites) that we cannot and do not
maintain a log or record of who has used data and in what way.
We are aware of an article in the Sunday Times in May 2009 about
universities using data in a similar way to the approach you describe.
I can confirm that we did supply some data to Durham University - under a
normal FOI request in which they did not specify what they intended to use
the data for.

I can confirm that Durham University were the only university to ask for
and be supplied with this file.

I am very happy to provide that file to you in a separate email. Please
note the file in that separate email is very large (around 15mb) - you'll
need to make sure your ISP and/or email provider is happy to deal with
files that size. Sometimes files of that size will be held until email
traffic is light or be trapped by firewalls. But, I am going to send it
within minutes of this email.

I hope that deals with your request.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Rose
[email address]

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2009/0066865.

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Department for Children, Schools and Families

1 Attachment

Imran - as promised in my separate email - here is the file

The old style points score of 8 for an A*, 7 for an A etc was last
published in 2003 and was discontinued completely in 2004. We have,
however, calculated these at school level for subsequent years and should
point out that as these were created specifically for this request.

The total and capped average points scores can be found in the following
columns in the attached spreadsheets:
2003 - Uncapped FK, Capped FN
2004 - Uncapped CV, Capped DB
2005 - Uncapped EI, Capped EJ
2006 - Uncapped EW, Capped EX
2007 - Uncapped EZ, Capped FA

Phil Rose
Schools Data Unit - Attainment
Data Services Group
Department for Children, Schools & Families
Floor N6
Sheffield S1 4PQ

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