High Myopia Prevalence in East Asia Linked to After-School Tutoring

A new academic study has linked the high prevalence of myopia in East Asian countries with extensive use of after-school tutoring. It found that countries with high prevalence of myopia combined high educational performance with high engagement in after-school tutoring. Other countries such as Australia with low levels of myopia achieve high education outcomes with little after-school tutoring. Continue reading “High Myopia Prevalence in East Asia Linked to After-School Tutoring”

Report Finds Cheating on High Stakes Tests is Rampant in the US

The US Government Accountability Office has reported evidence of rampant cheating in high stakes tests in the United States. The Office issued a report earlier this month showing that there were allegations of cheating in 40 states in the last two years. At least one instance of cheating was confirmed in 33 states and in 32 states test scores were cancelled or invalidated. Continue reading “Report Finds Cheating on High Stakes Tests is Rampant in the US”

P-TECH Schools are Unproven and Threaten Public Education

This article is summary of a Policy Brief published by SOS on P-TECH schools. The Brief can be downloaded below.

Last year, the Federal Government announced $0.5 million funding for a new type of school in Australia incorporating high school education and two years of tertiary training. It is based on the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College) school in Brooklyn, New York, established by the giant IT multinational IBM and now being rolled out in several US cities. The model is personally endorsed by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. Under the proposal, two existing schools in Ballarat and Geelong will be converted into P-TECH schools.

The introduction of P-TECH schools is proceeding without any evidence that they work and without any open discussion of their implications for the curriculum, how public schools are governed and how education is delivered in the classroom. IBM says that the new schools will replicate the New York model but it appears to be incompatible with the provisions of the Victorian Education and Training Act relating to school councils and curriculum development and accreditation and with the national curriculum for Years 9 & 10. Continue reading “P-TECH Schools are Unproven and Threaten Public Education”

New Study Shows that School Autonomy Increases the Gap Between Top and Bottom Students

A new study has found that school autonomy widens the gap between the top and bottom achieving students. It shows that school autonomy has little effect on overall student performance, but has a small positive effect for the top students and no effect on lower achieving students. It adds to the weight of evidence that increasing school autonomy does not work. Continue reading “New Study Shows that School Autonomy Increases the Gap Between Top and Bottom Students”

Students Got Raffle Tickets to do NAPLAN

Some schools offered students special inducements to do the NAPLAN tests last week. One Tasmanian school offered free breakfasts, raffle tickets and lunch and a movie with a teacher to encourage students to do the tests. Tasmanian education officials also organised an award ceremony with dignitaries and media for the best performing students in NAPLAN 2012. Continue reading “Students Got Raffle Tickets to do NAPLAN”

Senate Education Committee Rebuffs Govt & Coalition on School Autonomy

The Senate education committee has delivered a major rebuff to the Federal Government and the Coalition on school autonomy. It says that there is no clear evidence that greater school autonomy leads to better student performance and recommends more research on its impact.

Both the Federal Government and the Opposition have made school autonomy a key part of their education policies. However, the report is a severe embarrassment to the Coalition spokesman on education, Christopher Pyne, because he has put school autonomy at the centre of the Coalition’s education policy and a majority of the Senate education committee are Coalition members. Continue reading “Senate Education Committee Rebuffs Govt & Coalition on School Autonomy”

Study Shows Schools Rorting Test Results

My School has turned the NAPLAN tests into “high stakes” tests. They are high stakes because school reputations are now made and broken on the results posted on the My School website and in league tables of school results published in newspapers. The careers of school principals and teachers are now also affected by school NAPLAN results.

Continue reading “Study Shows Schools Rorting Test Results”

Approval of New Belconnen Private School Conflicts With Previous Assessment

The ACT Government has replaced a government school in north-west Belconnen with a private school with its decision to approve a new campus of Brindabella Christian College in Charnwood. Six years ago, Flynn PS was closed; now a new private school has been approved in the next suburb.

It seems that the ACT Government cannot make up its mind whether there is too much excess school capacity in the north-west Belconnen region or there is not enough capacity. The new private school has been approved even though a similar application by another private school was rejected only five years ago because of excess capacity in the area.

Continue reading “Approval of New Belconnen Private School Conflicts With Previous Assessment”

More Evidence that Test-Based Accountability Narrows the Curriculum

A new academic study has found that test-based accountability measures in the United States have narrowed the curriculum in schools. A statistical analysis published in the latest issue of Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis concludes that there is strong evidence that class time devoted to mathematics and English has increased while the share going to science and social studies has decreased in response to school accountability measures. Continue reading “More Evidence that Test-Based Accountability Narrows the Curriculum”