The top language centres for students aged 16+ now receive an area of strength in 80 per cent or more of all the areas under which they are inspected. That’s a higher average than achieved by young-learner centres (see pages 18-19) partly because there are around two and a half times more schools, colleges and universities specialising in adults.
That means that 30 centres are squashed into just six bands. So how can we tell them apart?
We decided to weight the scores based on outcomes in Teaching and Learning, one of four categories under inspection in all centres, by assigning a maximum of six bonus points. Differences in bonus points are used to show slight differences in this one category and do not affect the overall band score of each centre.
The six bonus points are based on the number of individual criteria marked as a strength on the British Council report in the five areas in the category of Teaching and Learning, plus the number of those areas awarded a strength on the inspectors’ summary statement.
A strength is deducted for any criterion in a given area which is judged as Not met. The British Council place particular emphasis on the importance of meeting every criteria, and one judgement of Not Met means an area strength will not be awarded by the inspectors.
The exact number of criteria applicable in each area varies from centre to centre, as you can see from the 2017 report reproduced on this page. In that example, one element out of six in this area is not five rather than six – a slight statistical advantage. The number of criteria in a given area can also vary from year to year. For example, in 2017, centres could be awarded strengths in just two of the five criteria in the area of Academic Staff Profile. Since 2018, three out of four criteria can be marked as strong.
To iron out statistical differences, we calculated all results as a percentage of available criteria for each area reported across the same base number. This does not entirely eliminate the statistical discrepancy and differences of less than 0.2 are unlikely to be significant.
An additional bonus of 0.25 is awarded under criteria T1, under Academic Staff Profile, for centres where all staff either have a Level 6 qualification (a first degree or equivalent), or are fully qualified EFL Teachers (TEFLQ) with an EFL Diploma at postgraduate level. Inspectors cannot award a strength under this criteria.
Reading the reports
This extract from a 2017 report shows how inspectors can score criteria. There are six criteria under which the inspectors can mark a result. T20 is marked N/A, showing it is not applicable to this centre. All five of the other criteria are marked as met and three have been marked as strong.
No criteria is marked as Not met, so under the bonus point system it has scored 60 per cent. This will be reported as 60 per cent of the base score of 6, which is 3.6.