Education department to release statistics

| 17/02/2012

sums_200.jpg(CNS):  Teachers, public, special needs, exam results, attendance figures and numerous other data relating to the country’s schools will soon be in the public domain when the education department publishes its first compendium of statistics next month. Speaking at the National Data Day seminar on Thursday, the education minister said reform could not depend on “hunches and gut feelings” but needed reliable credible data. Rolston Anglin said that while there was a risk of criticism by publishing statistics, there was a need to be truthful school by school to manage resources and make key decisions in the future.

Anglin anticipates that within about four weeks the Department of Education Services will for first time have real holistic data to build upon. While he admitted that this first setof statistics was unlikely to be perfect, he believed it would be credible data on which decisions could be made.

Despite the possibility of resistance, the minister said it was important to publish the data and not be put off because of the claims of disadvantage that would be made over catchment areas and socio-economic issues. He said it was evident that these would have an impact on school statistics.

“We can't allow ourselves to be drawn as we need to achieve a target of 75% of students attaining five passes,” he said, adding that criticisms and fears should not distract from that aspiration. “We need to make data driven decisions,” Anglin told the group of educators and school principals at the seminar.

He said the collection of information needed their support to ensure that accurate statistics would be at the heart of future decision and policy making.

Anglin spoke about how he had listened carefully to educators when he first took up office in order to inform what he described as the substantive reform that has taken place, and he was excited that the department was at a point where it could talk about actual performance.

“This will help drive systemic change and 21st century education reform,” Anglin said as he revealed that reform would be an ongoing process. “All of us might want to get to a comfortable place where reform comes to an end, but I believe when anyone decides they have reached the pinnacle and stop reforming, they will lose pace.”

He said that the world was continually changing and as a result teachers were continually asked to fill the new gaps in the world’s job market. He said today’s teachers were teaching kids who would probably end up in jobs that don’t even exist yet.

Speaking about what the statistics might show, Chief Officer in the education ministry Mary Rodrigues said all the latest research confirms that in order to reform you have to understand where you are. Historically that had not been the case, she said, but now the information was being collected from the “chalk face’ of education.

She said data was needed on student performance for comparison locally and internationally, as well as informing how resources would be spent and key decisions made.

Since 2005, when only 23 percent of children were leaving school with five passes or more, the figure has been steadily rising to an all-time high of 45% in 2011, which is still some way from the minister’s target of three quarters of all students leaving school with 5 high passes.

The compendium of statistics will cover more than exam results, however, as a snap shot circulated to the press Thursday revealed percentages of children with special needs in all of the government schools as well as teacher ratios and attendance levels.

The preliminary data shows that 660 primary school children and 365 secondary students have special education needs. SEN is split into three phases and almost 10% of the country’s students in public high schools are in phase three, with the most pressing problems. Cayman Brac has the highest percentage of SENs in both primary and secondary, while Clifton Hunter, the new high school, and Prospect and East End primary schools have the lowest level of phase three special needs students.

In the primary system the average teacher-child ratio is 14.4 but Prospect is as high as 20.4 while kids in Little Cayman enjoy a ratio of 5 kids per teacher. In the high schools the average ratio is 10.6 with the new Further Education Centre double that at 22.1 compared to Cayman Brac which is 6.6.

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Comments (14)

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  1. Anon 1.0 says:

    This is how it works in government schools:


    In class: 1+1=2

    During exercises: 1+(-2)+2= 1

    On the exam: A man travels at 50 km/h. Calculate the mass of the sun.


    Serious talk man.

  2. Lies, damned lies, and statistics says:

    "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent's point.

    The term was popularised in the United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881): "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you manage to learn how to cut and paste from the internet all by yourself or did you have to study for it?

  3. Anonymous says:

    As usual they want to talk percentages and not firm figures. A prime example of this is saying that Cayman Brac has the highest percentage of SEN’s – yes considering that the High school in the Brac has less than 200 students then the percentage of SEN’s students may be high but the figure of say 30 students is not a lot. If all of the students were SEN’s even then numbers wise it would not be a lot of students. Give us firm tangible figures and stop as usual hiding and camoflaging with percentages.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you about the percentages.  I remember awhile back that a big deal was made about someone getting a 10% increase in wages, only to find out that it was only $1.00.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The government, under both the PPM and UDP, has not been able to procuce autitable financial statements.


    What make you think that the Education department will produce auditable statisticics?

    • Anonymous says:

      From the spelling in your post you clearly need the Education dept's help! 

  5. Anonymous says:

    You can preach stats all day, but if the quality of the statistic, or the quality of those collecting the data, or the quality of the independence of the analyst has not been properly accounted for, then  the stats will probably be manipulated to support a gut feel, rather than test a gut feel or discover another pattern not previously seen.


    I hope there not using some Mickey–Mouse statistical analysis and have hired a professional.


    Lets see the raw data and the names of people involved in the creation of the statistics. Thats the only way to verify(…and trust).

  6. Anonymous says:

    Um, this WILL be interesting!

  7. Anonymous says:

    "I don't know much about algebra, but 1+1=2" – I love that long by Beyonce lol

    • Alan Nivia says:

      People who "lol" their own jokes, especially when the "joke" in question is inane should be put on some kind of black list.

      • Anonymous says:


        • Anonymous says:

          yes "inane" is an actual word, commonly used by those with a properly developed vocabulary…so, your lack of familiarity would indicate you arent one of theose persons

          you could atleast 'google' it but that would be too much clearly.

          As usual, you will sit there and wait for someone else to do the research and present it to you — but just go look it up lazy-bones