The Whackiness of School League Tables

Once again, The Canberra Times has run the legal gauntlet by publishing the crudest of school league tables. The Times is the proverbial “last man standing” now that the nation’s other newspapers have given up on this practice.

A quick analysis of the content of the league tables reveals how unreliable and meaningless the information is – at least when it comes to drawing any conclusions about school or teacher quality. Continue reading “The Whackiness of School League Tables”

Australia’s Maths Performance Relative to East Asia Improves in Secondary School

The gap in student performance between Australia and East Asian countries has been a focus of much debate in recent times. A paper recently published by the Institute of Education at the University of London shows that while the gap in mathematics is quite large in primary school much of it has been eliminated by age 16. It also shows that Australia’s mathematics results are more strongly associated with socio-economic background at age 16 than in most other countries included in the study. Continue reading “Australia’s Maths Performance Relative to East Asia Improves in Secondary School”

Year 4 TIMSS & PIRLS results

These are the summary results for Australia from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) for Year 4. They are also compared with results from earlier years. Australia participated in PIRLS for the first time in 2011. Continue reading “Year 4 TIMSS & PIRLS results”

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While there have been large increases since 2008 in the percentage of students withdrawn from the NAPLAN tests, the average withdrawn remains low in all states and for Australia.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.

Continue reading “Many Schools Have High Withdrawal Rates from NAPLAN”

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.

Continue reading “Big Increase in Students Withdrawn from NAPLAN Tests”

Survey Finds that NAPLAN Has a Detrimental Effect on Education

The results of a survey published last month show that a large majority of teachers think that the NAPLAN tests detract from learning in the classroom and have little education benefit for students.

Teachers say that NAPLAN has lead to a narrowing of the curriculum, teaching to the test, and a negative classroom environment that lowers student engagement and does not cater for the needs of individual students. Hours of test preparation mean that it is harder to cater for students with the greatest need.

The tests are also increasing stress and anxiety amongst students. Many students are experiencing anxiety attacks, are not sleeping and are becoming physically ill before the tests. Continue reading “Survey Finds that NAPLAN Has a Detrimental Effect on Education”

Education is More Than Test Scores

All the weight now placed on NAPLAN scores and international test scores as the measure of education success ignores a fundamental dictum: education is more than test scores. Tests ignore much of what schools do that is highly valuable to children growing up and to society. The Prime Minister and her Education Minister do not appear to understand this. Continue reading “Education is More Than Test Scores”

A Principal Speaks Out on NAPLAN

Wednesday October 17, 2012

This is an interview with Kevin Pope, Principal of Meadow Heights PS in Melbourne. The interview was conducted by Lorraine Wilson and Jacinta Cashen for the Say No To NAPLAN group. It is one of several papers recently published by Say No To NAPLAN. The full set of papers is available on the Literacy Educators’ Coalition website. Continue reading “A Principal Speaks Out on NAPLAN”