League Tables Discussed at Politics in the Pub

Tuesday September 8, 2009

Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council, John Kaye, and Trevor Cobbold, National Convenor of Save Our Schools, addressed Politics in the Pub in Sydney on Friday, 4 September, on “School League Tables – Success or Disaster?”

Trevor Cobbold’s presentation outlined government deception and sophistry on the introduction of league tables, why league tables are an unreliable indicator of school quality, how league tables harm education and how they lead to social segregation in schools. It also shows how so-called ‘like-school’ comparisons fail to compare like with like. Continue reading “League Tables Discussed at Politics in the Pub”

Gillard’s Favourite School Reporting Model is Totally Discredited

Julia Gillard’s beloved New York City school reporting system has been totally discredited following the release of new letter grades for New York City elementary and middle schools last week. The new results have been received with utter disbelief and ridicule by the New York media, academics and parent groups. Continue reading “Gillard’s Favourite School Reporting Model is Totally Discredited”

Call for ‘Health’ Warning on School Results

Julia Gillard and other Australian education ministers would be well advised to have a close look at a report published last month by a leading group of academics in England.

The report recommends that school test results should be published with a “health” warning. It says this is necessary because raw test scores only measure part of what schools do and are influenced by factors beyond schools’ control. It warns that publishing school test results may damage the very outcomes that it was designed to improve. The report also raises questions about the validity of like school comparisons. Continue reading “Call for ‘Health’ Warning on School Results”

Gillard Renews Threat of Sanctions Against Lowly Ranked Schools

Julia Gillard has yet again raised the spectre of using school results to punish low performing schools. She said on the SBS Insight program that principals deserve to be sacked if they repeatedly fail to lift their school’s performance. Continue reading “Gillard Renews Threat of Sanctions Against Lowly Ranked Schools”

Cheating on Tests Corrupts School Comparisons

In the last few weeks, several incidents of teachers cheating on tests used to compare schools were revealed in Lancashire in England, in Washington DC and the US state of Georgia.

They add to the stream of similar incidents in both countries since school performance comparisons were introduced. They demonstrate the extreme pressure placed on teachers and principals where test results are used to compare school performance. Cheating also further reduces the reliability of school results as a measure of school and teacher quality. Continue reading “Cheating on Tests Corrupts School Comparisons”

Reporting School Results and League Tables

The following is a speech to the Branch Council of the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union by Trevor Cobbold, National Convenor of Save Our Schools, on 15 April. It shows how Federal and State/Territory have duped the Australian public about school league tables, summarises the case against reporting school results and league tables and calls for them to be resisted by parents and teachers.

Continue reading “Reporting School Results and League Tables”

More Evidence that School Comparisons Narrow the Curriculum

A new analysis of test data in New York State provides some interesting evidence that public comparisons of school results narrow the curriculum.

It suggests that schools in New York City are paying more attention to English and maths than science and social studies because these results are used to compare and grade schools. Continue reading “More Evidence that School Comparisons Narrow the Curriculum”

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”

School Comparisons Will Pit Rich Against Poor

A study released by Save Our Schools, a public education advocacy group, shows that school comparisons for local areas to be released by the Federal Government later this year will pit rich schools against poor. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, called on the Federal Education Minister to ditch the publication of school comparisons in local areas. Continue reading “School Comparisons Will Pit Rich Against Poor”

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”