Misplaced educational numberwang ...

If you are confused, Numberwang is a word (well kind off), introduced by two British comedians ridiculing some of the banal day time television quiz shows.

Do you find that organisationally devised targets have the same feel about them - a complete load of numberwang where everyone is striving to meet numbers that may have been simply plucked from mid-air.

Student numbers - recruitment, retention, achievement etc can be quantified. However, they are not easy to measure. Population variance quickly turns this into a meaningless art, especially when you are dealing with large datasets.

I have seen colleagues internally and externally break wind over a 1% shift up or down regarding all manner of measures - why is this not expected? Personally shifts of 5% are interesting, 10% worth considering and also context is everything. If you have 10 students and gain 2, 20% is worthless. However, when applied to a programme of 400 students, see a different picture.

Please - stop playing numberwang - do something more interesting instead.


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