Shortcomings of league tables
The prevailing problem with the school league tables is that they are based on raw results.
While these might be useful to parents and prospective students when it comes to comparing one aspect of the character of similar schools, they say nothing about the different social environments in which schools operate.
It costs the Assembly £90,000 to publish the league tables but they are widely regarded as being unhelpful and meaningless to those they are supposed to benefit.
One of the main arguments the Conservatives used when they began publishing the results nine years ago was that they would let parents take advantage of their new freedom to choose where their children went to school.
But in reality, in Wales, a huge percentage of people have no choice because there is usually only one available school - particularly in more rural areas.
Another motivation for inventing school league tables was to push up standards by forcing schools to focus on achieving success in the new national curriculum tests.
But they do not show how much a school adds to its students' achievements - there is nothing to measure the difference between when they start, at the end of their primary schooling, to when they sit their GCSE exams.
Such an indicator is known as a "value added" measure. It shows by how much pupils have improved during their time at a school.
For instance, Glan Ely school, Cardiff, does disastrously in the tables - bottom again this year on the percentage of 15 year olds getting at least five good GCSEs.
But the head teacher points out that half of his 11 year olds have a reading age of only eight when they start the school.
And 14 of the 100 who took their GCSEs this year had statements of special educational needs.
Changes for next year
How can their performance be compared with those in schools such as Cowbridge Comprehensive - the top maintained school - when they start at such a disadvantage, he says.
He says the league tables undermine the good work which goes on at his school in improving the prospects and achievements of his students.
A small pilot for such a measure was tried in this year's English tables: 155 colleges and schools with sixth forms volunteered for a scheme which measured the improvement achieved by a school between GCSE and A-levels.
The government hopes to extend this sort of "value-added" to all schools and all age groups in England.
In Wales, Education Minister Jane Davidson is planning to change the way the information is published.
The changes could include giving money to local authorities to publish more information to add value to the tables - such as whether or not the school has reached its own targets - regardless of ''meaningless'' national averages.
Teachers' unions will be largely supportive of changes which widen the remit of the tables - because they argue that at the moment, it is impossible to compare one school in one area with another, because they do not all start from the same point.
The minister is preparing a consultation document. So parents will have a say in what these tables might look like next year.
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