Azara Blog: Ofsted notices link between teaching and attendance

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Date published: 2007/09/21

The BBC says:

When lessons are interesting pupils are less likely to play truant from school, suggests research into attendance.

A report from watchdog Ofsted says the higher the quality of teaching, the better the rate of attendance.
Secondary schools with high quality teaching and learning were found to have the best levels of attendance.

Strong leadership and management also had a positive effect on attendance along with a curriculum that met the needs of pupils.

It is unbelievable that Ofsted does not understand the difference between correlation and causation. There is no doubt a link between family wealth and "high quality teaching" and also a link between family wealth and attendance, so it is not very surprising that there is a link between high quality teaching and attendance. None of this proves that any factor is the cause of any other factor. The reason Ofsted gets away with this sloppy report is that everybody believes the claim they are making, so believes that the correlation somehow provides confirmatory evidence that the causative claim is true. It does not. Of course the claim might well be true, it's just that Ofsted has no evidence for this one way or the other. The people at Ofsted should go back to school and take some lessons in Logic 101 (and similarly all BBC reporters).

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