The Dishonourable Lie

How often have we all sat through those frustrating meetings where someone from head office or a university articulates with such commitment the first lie – if you can’t measure it then it’s not worth doing.  This quantification of education based on an economically rational approach started in the sixties.  This was the dawn of outcomes-based learning. 

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New York Parents Condemn Klein’s Education Policies

Reprinted below are three letters by New York parents on the education policies implemented in the New York City public education system under Schools Chancellor, Joel Klein. They present an entirely different perspective on these policies than that heralded by the Federal Education Minister, Julia Gillard.

The letters were originally published on the New York Public School Parents Blog on 10 November in response to revelations that Klein is being considered for the position of US Secretary of Education under Barack Obama.

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Have Kids Stopped Trying on PISA and NAPLAN?

This is a summary of a new Education Research Brief. It can be downloaded below

A much-ignored aspect of school results in Australia over the past decade or more is the sharp contrast between declining or stagnating scores on international and national tests for Years 9 and 10 and solid improvements in Year 12 results. How is it that trends in school outcomes only two or three Year levels apart are so different? Continue reading “Have Kids Stopped Trying on PISA and NAPLAN?”

League Tables Create Incentives for Schools to Rig Their Results

National literacy and numeracy tests will now have ‘high stakes’ attached to them as a result of the decision of Australian education ministers, at the initiative of the Rudd Government, to publish the results of individual schools.

It means that league tables are now inevitable in Australia. This will put schools under enormous pressure to maintain reputations and enrolments. The future of some schools will also be threatened because the Prime Minister has stated that sanctions will be applied to schools that don’t improve their performance. Continue reading “League Tables Create Incentives for Schools to Rig Their Results”

A Teacher’s Comment on NAPLAN

Earlier this week the ABC’s Life Matters program ran a segment on parents taking their children out of the NAPLAN tests. It generated considerable discussion. A listener who is a teacher sent SOS this response to the program.

School leaders and systems do use NAPLAN and recognise NAPLAN because it has now become the universal measure across the country because of its official status as a measure and not because it is valuable per se. It would be a concern if teachers relied on NAPLAN as a diagnostic tool and only relied on NAPLAN given the time lag between the test and the results. Good teachers are constantly assessing students in a number of ways but do not rely on a single standardised test but involve students in continual modes of improvement. Testing is not part of life, it is part of school life. How often does anyone who goes to work have to sit an exam to prove that they are learning, that they are doing their job, and demonstrating all they know in an hour or two? We would say as adults that would be unreasonable. Performance evaluation at work relies on continuous practice. Continue reading “A Teacher’s Comment on NAPLAN”

Massive Surge in Students Opting-Out of Tests

There was a massive surge in the number of students being withdrawn from standardised tests in the United States last week. The New York Daily News reported that the entire structure of high-stakes testing in New York crumbled as tens of thousands of fed-up public school parents rebelled and opted their children out of tests. Continue reading “Massive Surge in Students Opting-Out of Tests”

Testing Times

It is testing season in the United States and a nation-wide rebellion against the tests is under way as a huge opt-out movement has developed. Protests against testing have broken out in cities across the US. Politicians and policy makers continue to insist that the tests encourage better school performance but this is being increasingly challenged by parents and teachers. Continue reading “Testing Times”

Parents Are Becoming More Disillusioned With NAPLAN

Parents are becoming more and more disillusioned with the NAPLAN tests. New figures released by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) show record withdrawal rates from the tests across Australia and in most states/territories this year. It suggests that increasing numbers of parents realise that NAPLAN is not compulsory and are unwilling to put their children through the high stress associated with the tests in schools nowadays.

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