Daily Archives: June 12, 2012

Chris Cook

Since January, schools have been subject to a new inspection regime. Ofsted, the inspectorate, has changed its criteria. Data released today mean there is one question we can consider: is the new inspection regime any tougher or easier than its predecessor?

This is not a straightforward question: weaker schools get inspected more regularly, so the sample is not randomly selected. What we can do, however, is see whether schools are more likely to be promoted or relegated than in previous years.

This, too, is not simple. The Department for Education changed schools’ ID numbers when they became academies, so I cannot match every new report to the same school’s previous ones so it is a faff to match records, which has taken a bit of tinkering. We have matches for 1,711 schools – both primary and secondary.

Here are the results:

1 2 3 4
1 25% 50% 25% 0%
2 8% 58% 27% 7%
3 2% 44% 40% 14%
4 1% 13% 75% 11%

 Read more

Emily Cadman

An unusually snappily named academic paper – “Death has a preference for birthdays” – takes a new look at the question of social milestones and death.

The idea that some deaths can be postponed for key events (like birthdays or major festivals) first caught currency in the 1970s, and has been argued about every since. It is an idea that appeals. This statistical paper, set to be published in the Annals of Epidemiology, adds to that literature. Read more