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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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”

Are Finland’s Vaunted Schools Slipping?

Leading Finnish education expert, Pasi Sahlberg, comments on Finland’s slip down the rankings on international test results from the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA).

The irony of Finland’s successful school system is that the Finns never aimed to be better than anyone else — except, it is often humorously claimed, Sweden. Since the announcement of the first results of the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, in 2001, Finland has been the center of educational attention. Finland’s PISA scores topped the charts, and the Finnish approach to educational policy has stood in direct opposition to the path embraced by the United States, England, and much of the rest of the world. Continue reading “Are Finland’s Vaunted Schools Slipping?”

Study Reveals the Damage to Education by NAPLAN and My School

Together with many teachers, academics and others around Australia, we can only feel vindicated by a new study by researchers at the University of Melbourne that shows the disastrous consequences of reporting school results on national literacy and numeracy tests. Incredibly, 75% of teachers say that they now teach to the test because of the focus on the NAPLAN tests and 70% say that less time is now spent on other subjects in schools. Continue reading “Study Reveals the Damage to Education by NAPLAN and My School”

Many Schools Have High Withdrawal Rates from NAPLAN

While there have been large increases since 2008 in the percentage of students withdrawn from the NAPLAN tests, the average withdrawn remains low in all states and for Australia. However, these low averages disguise some very high withdrawal rates in many schools.

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Big Increase in Students Withdrawn from NAPLAN Tests

An increasing number of parents are withdrawing their children from the NAPLAN tests. There has been a four- to five-fold increase across Australia since 2008 in the percentage of children withdrawn from the numeracy tests. Withdrawals have increased in all Year levels tested and across all states and territories, with the largest increases in the ACT, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

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An Innovative Way to Cheat on School Results

The pressure on schools to improve school league table rankings sometimes produces innovative ways to cheat and rort school results. A report in the Canberra Times (19 May) has exposed a simple way of cheating by schools that could well be the tip of the iceberg.

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