Michael Gove misusing evidence about career guidance

I recently posted a link to the excellent Gove vs Reality site. The purpose of this site is to highligh examples of where Michael Gove misuses evidence for his own political purposes.

Only a few weeks later and I’ve come across an example of him doing the same thing in the careers field. In a recent letter to the chair of the House of Commons Education Committee he quotes a line from Tony Watts’ report The Proposed Model for Career Guidance in England: Some Lessons from International Examples.

‘Professor Watts states in paragraph 18 that: “There are no data which enable firm conclusions to be drawn on the impact of these different models on pupil attainment, progression and employment prospects, or on other quantifiable success measures”.’

In fact this quote is taken out of context and should read.

“There are no data which enable firm conclusions to be drawn on the impact of these different models on pupil attainment, progression and employment prospects, or on other quantifiable success measures. There is evidence elsewhere to demonstrate a relationship between clarity of career goals and educational attainment. There is also a strong theoretical basis for the effect of careers education and guidance on attainment and associated behaviour. This is supported by some US studies on the impact of more broadly-based guidance programmes on pupil performance.”

This kind of use of out of context quotes seems very poor practice for an Education Secretary who purports to be keen on introducing greater rigour into the education sytem.

There is more detail on Michael Gove’s letter and Tony Watts’ response to it on the iCeGS website.


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