Policy & Politics
Advancing knowledge in public and social policy

British educational trajectories from school to university: evaluating quantitative evidence in policy formulation and justification

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Ron JohnstonUniversity of Bristol, UK

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David ManleyUniversity of Bristol, UK

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Kelvyn JonesUniversity of Bristol, UK

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Anthony HoareUniversity of Bristol, UK

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Richard HarrisUniversity of Bristol, UK

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The increasing volume of available ‘big data’ contains great potential for public policy to be evidence-based – as long as they are properly analysed and fully appreciated. This paper examines a case where that did not happen, and as a consequence an ideological-driven policy change was supported by a poor analysis of the available data. Using the same data, analyses employing a novel procedure falsify the government’s arguments: many well-qualified students for courses in the country’s leading universities may not be offered places there in the absence of data on their academic progress during their two years of post-secondary education.

Ron JohnstonUniversity of Bristol, UK

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David ManleyUniversity of Bristol, UK

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Kelvyn JonesUniversity of Bristol, UK

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Anthony HoareUniversity of Bristol, UK

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Richard HarrisUniversity of Bristol, UK

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