Access issues 2

February 11, 2005

The Higher Education Funding Council for England report on participation is old, false, trivial and unethical (Access supplement, January 21).

We already knew that participation varies with time, geography, socioeconomic factors, seasons, sex, school type and public examination. This report claims to add information but ignores change over time. As most of the sources of variation in participation are ignored, nothing useful is added, not even objective information on the accuracy of the estimates. If these statistics are regarded as government statistics, then Sir Martin Harris should consider asking the Statistics Commission to investigate why the required standards, which include giving confidence intervals for the main results, have not been met.

Jane Hutton
Warwick University

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