Lies, damned lies, statistics and Tory MPs

Paul Hopkins's picture
 2
In a letter from a Tory MP recently in reply to questions about the EB was the statement "less than fifteen per cent of those eligible to take geography [GCSE] did so".

So, I wondered about this and where this 15% of those came from. Using the Maths entries for 2010 as a benchmark of total entries, since just about everyone is entered for a Maths GCSE we get the following for Full Course GCE entries:

Geog 25.5% of candidates (UK) and 25.1% (England)
History 29% (UK) and 28.6% (England)

Maybe this MP needs to redo his Maths GCSE?

This MP also stated in response to the Early Day Motion that is gathering signatures re: the place of RE in the EB that "the motion you refer to is not going to be called for debate" - an interesting insight into the principles of democracy.
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Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 11/03/2011 - 11:51

The accuracy of data seems to mean little to the Secretary of State and his Ministers. We know that Mr Gove, Nick Gibb and Lord Hill continually use the discounted 2000 OECD PISA figure for the UK while ignoring the good results for England from TIMSS 2007. Misleading statements are not confined to Ministers. The MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham told the House on 20 December (source Hansard) that the recent OECD results showed that the achievement of UK school children was "worse than Slovenia". This is not true.

What this misrepresentation shows is a contempt for the electorate.

Adrian Elliott's picture
Fri, 11/03/2011 - 17:00

The problem is that so many of these statistical untruths become part of a received wisdom which is constantly disseminated across all parts of the media. My 'favourite' is the claim that 20% or so of primary school children leave school unable to read and write. This is a total fabrication based on a misinterpretation of KS2 assessment levels . But a huge number of people clearly believe it and then make comparisons with the past when,so they claim,every one left primary school confident readers and writers.

Good for Paul for following this up.

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