Wednesday, January 24, 2007

NFER Research Gets a Fail

If you want to be impressed with the depths of inadequacy of the research underpinning the delayed prospective consultation on "light touch changes to the monitoring of Home Education" you could do worse than to go here and consider, for example, Question 8.

"What factors get in the way of accessing support?
(Please select a factor from each dropdown box, starting with the biggest factor)


-- biggest factor -- Poor communications, Lack of clarity of roles, Negative attitudes, Lack of resources, Lack of understanding, Other (please specify)
-- 2nd biggest factor -- Poor communications, Lack of clarity of roles, Negative attitudes, Lack of resources, Lack of understanding, Other (please specify)
-- 3rd biggest factor -- Poor communications, Lack of clarity of roles, Negative attitudes, Lack of resources, Lack of understanding, Other (please specify)
-- 4th biggest factor -- Poor communications, Lack of clarity of roles, Negative attitudes, Lack of resources, Lack of understanding, Other (please specify)
-- 5th biggest factor -- Poor communications, Lack of clarity of roles, Negative attitudes, Lack of resources, Lack of understanding, Other (please specify)".


A charitable way of looking at the question is that the people at the NFER simply don't know what they are talking about. They have no real idea of the issues facing HEors, for if they did, they would know that most HEors don't have any problem accessing huge amounts of support from the HE network and that they don't expect any help from anywhere else, least of all an LA.

A less charitable way of looking at the question is to see it as a trap, for if we were to answer the question as if we have problems accessing support from local authorities, (as if we imagined we were going to get any in the first place - ha! ), then presumably a researcher could interpret this as meaning that HEors have problems accessing any sort of support at all.

So I left question 8 blank and told them what I thought of the ambiguity in question 8 in their final comments box.

But really, whether it be incompetence or deliberate deviousness, research such as this should not be allowed to inform public bodies or to influence their actions, for it does not access the truth of matter.

2 comments:

katherine said...

I followed your link and I am suitably impressed with NFER's inadaquacy.

Like you, I left Q8 blank and commented on it. I also commented that there is plenty of 'support' available to HEors if they look for it. Oh, and that the types of support that they thought we might need in Qs 6 & 7 seemed more relevant to school than to HE e.g. curriculum, assessments etc. The comments box really needs to be bigger!

(Told you I'd comment on your blog one day! Hope to catch up with you in real life again soon!)

Carlotta said...

Hi K,

Great to hear from you. Hope all is very well...and do hope to catch up with you v. soon.

Cx