A Cautionary Tale from New York on High Stakes Testing

Lectures by US Professor of Education, David Hursh, in Melbourne and Sydney last month described the rise of market-based education policies in New York State. He showed that over the last twenty years, control over education policy has shifted from the local level to the state and federal levels.

As a result, he said, unelected and unaccountable entrepreneurs and corporations dominate curricular and assessment decisions. Students and teachers are increasingly assessed by tests that are intended to portray them as failures. However, parents, students, educators and community members are fighting back to regain control over education. Continue reading “A Cautionary Tale from New York on High Stakes Testing”

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?”

A Tale of ACARA and the See-no-evil Monkeys: There is No Excuse for Willful Ignorance

The Australian Senate’s Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee is currently holding an Inquiry into the effectiveness of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).

Over 70 submissions have been received of varying quality. In this article, I focus on the submission from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). ACARA is the custodian of NAPLAN and how it is used for school transparency and accountability purposes on the MySchool website. Continue reading “A Tale of ACARA and the See-no-evil Monkeys: There is No Excuse for Willful Ignorance”

Principals Say NAPLAN Has a Negative Impact on Schooling

A majority of primary school principals believe that the NAPLAN tests are having a negative impact on schooling. They say it has a negative impact on student well-being, curriculum and teaching practices and that considerable time is spent on preparing for the tests.

Two-thirds of principals say the tests impact negatively on student well-being, just over half say they have a negative impact on curriculum and 45 per cent say it has a negative impact on teaching practice in the classroom. Two-thirds of principals reported that time is spent on preparing for NAPLAN in their schools. Continue reading “Principals Say NAPLAN Has a Negative Impact on Schooling”

Queensland Premier Criticises NAPLAN as Misleading and Narrowing the Curriculum

The Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, has broken the bi-partisanship on national testing. He has criticised NAPLAN as a high stakes test that is misleading and narrowing the curriculum. Continue reading “Queensland Premier Criticises NAPLAN as Misleading and Narrowing the Curriculum”

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”

Growing Resistance to Market-Based Education in the US

This article is re-blogged from the Education Opportunity Network blog. Links are omitted here. Its original title is ‘The Forces Driving America’s Education Spring’.

Anyone who thinks education is the “civil rights issue of our time” needs to look at what’s going on in Chicago.

In three days of protests over the weekend and lapping into Monday, people who look like they would be involved in a civil rights cause – mostly African-American and Latino/a teachers, parents, and students, many living in low-income communities – were protesting against the city’s decision to close their neighborhood schools. Continue reading “Growing Resistance to Market-Based Education in the US”

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”

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”