The Fudging of School Results Begins

School performance reporting and league tables create pressures and incentives for schools to fudge their results.

Competition for higher rankings forces schools to “play the system” to show improvement even where there is none. Playing the system is the quick route to better results. It is a feature of school performance reporting wherever it has been adopted. Continue reading “The Fudging of School Results Begins”

League Tables Will Damage Education

Australian education ministers are being duplicitous on school league tables. They claim to be opposed to ‘simplistic’ league tables but are providing the information to enable their publication.

League tables are inevitable because school results are to be published on a centralized national website, as well as on several state and territory websites. It will be a simple matter for anyone to construct school rankings from them. Continue reading “League Tables Will Damage Education”

Reporting School Results Does Greater Harm Than Good

A sense of righteous outrage has pervaded some responses to the decision of the NSW upper house of Parliament to prohibit published comparisons of school results. Some of it has bordered on the hysterical. Federal Education Minister, Julia Gillard, called it “ridiculous” and “crazy”.

What is ridiculous is the intransigence of the Federal Education Minister and her State and Territory counterparts in proceeding with reporting school results, and the inevitable league tables that will follow, without proper consideration of the harm it will do to students and the school system overall. Continue reading “Reporting School Results Does Greater Harm Than Good”

Encouraging Students to Stay Away on Test Day is a Rort to Increase School Test Scores

Last week many schools bent the rules by encouraging parents of some low achieving students to stay home during the NAPLAN tests. The revelations show that some schools see that a key way to improving test scores is to restrict the participation of low achieving students in the tests because they reduce a school’s test scores. In this, they are following well-established practice used overseas where league tables of school results are published. Continue reading “Encouraging Students to Stay Away on Test Day is a Rort to Increase School Test Scores”

More Evidence that Gillard’s Faith in Competition is Misplaced

Just as John Howard and David Kemp did, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have placed their faith in competition to improve school performance. This faith is proving entirely misplaced with many recent studies around the world showing that competition and markets in education fail to improve student performance and create greater social segregation between schools. Continue reading “More Evidence that Gillard’s Faith in Competition is Misplaced”

The Free Market and the Social Divide in Education

The Federal Government’s approach to education is fatally contradictory.

Extending the market in education and improving social equity are incompatible policies.

Inevitably, it is equity which loses out, as it has in England and the US. Instead of improving student achievement, market-oriented school systems lead to greater social segregation and exacerbate achievement gaps in schooling.

These are among the conclusions of a research paper by SOS’s Trevor Cobbold. Continue reading “The Free Market and the Social Divide in Education”