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College is performing well

PUBLISHED: 12:06 28 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:33 05 July 2010

I READ with interest the article "Town's pupils trailing behind" (January 11).

I feel that I ought to correct any misconception that may have been caused as a result of the claim that "Lowestoft College came in at a poor 451.

I READ with interest the article “Town's pupils trailing behind” (January 11).

I feel that I ought to correct any misconception that may have been caused as a result of the claim that “Lowestoft College came in at a poor 451.8 points for A-level exams.”

The college does not offer A-levels.

The performance tables only include certain students. To be included, first of all you have to be 16, 17 or 18 and secondly you have to have been studying a Level 3 qualification that the government has chosen to include in the tables. In the academic year 2006/07 the college had just under 800 students taking a Level 3 qualification but only 65 learners were included in the tables because either they were too old or their vocational qualification was excluded.

There are two sets of comparative points given in the tables. The first is the total points score per learner which depends on how many A-levels are undertaken (and the grades) or the score allocated for a pass on those vocational qualifications which are included. For a comparison three A-levels at grade A are worth 810 points whereas a pass at NVQ 3 in carpentry is worth 576 points. A pass in Level 3 animal care is worth 206.3 points. There is therefore no point in comparing such different types of qualification.

The second set of points is the average if you divide the total points by the size of the qualification; ie divide by three if there were three A-levels or divide by the equivalent size of the vocational qualification; ie animal care is seen as 1.25 A-levels. This second measure of points score per entry is a fairer comparison between institutions.

The other factor to take into account is if someone takes two AS-levels in the sixth form in year 12 and fails them, then passes a Level 3 vocational qualification (that features in the tables) at college, then the original two fails are taken into account in calculating the average points score per entry. Confused? You have every reason to be.

Comparisons between schools and colleges or even colleges and colleges are pointless. Instead you should consider what inspectors say about the quality of provision and ask where there are year on year improvements.

Ofsted are very happy with the quality of performance by Lowestoft College students and the average points score per entry has improved year on year for the last five years and at a rate which is on a par with the county and better than the national average.

GWEN PARSONS

Principal

Lowestoft College

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