More Evidence that Test-Based Accountability Narrows the Curriculum

A new academic study has found that test-based accountability measures in the United States have narrowed the curriculum in schools. A statistical analysis published in the latest issue of Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis concludes that there is strong evidence that class time devoted to mathematics and English has increased while the share going to science and social studies has decreased in response to school accountability measures. Continue reading “More Evidence that Test-Based Accountability Narrows the Curriculum”

ACARA Head is Mistaken on Test-Based Accountability

In an article in The Canberra Times, the Chief Executive of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Robert Randall mistakenly claimed that Australia has avoided US-style consequences from high stakes testing.

Randall conceded that Save Our Schools is correct in pointing to the United States as “an example of what can happen when test results are used for inappropriate purposes and when money – whether for individual teachers, principals or entire school districts – rides on good results.”

However, Randall asserted that this is not a problem in Australia because “we do not have bonuses for schools or teachers based on NAPLAN results”. He said: “We know how to avoid distortions of the type seen in the US and we are, as a nation, avoiding them”.

Randall is quite mistaken. Australia is clearly heading down the path of test-based accountability for states, schools and teachers. The Federal Government is leading the way. Continue reading “ACARA Head is Mistaken on Test-Based Accountability”

Share Your NAPLAN Stories

The next round of NAPLAN tests is only a few weeks away. Save Our Schools is again collecting information on the impact of NAPLAN on students, teachers and schools.

Tell us your stories and information about the effects of NAPLAN in your school. Use the “Contact Us” facility on the Save Our Schools website. If you would like to provide more detailed information and stories please contact us to arrange another address to send your information. Continue reading “Share Your NAPLAN Stories”

The Standardised Testing Racket

It is NAPLAN test week next month in Australia. It is also testing season in the United States which has coincided, once again, with another round of cheating scandals highlighted by the dramatic indictment of one of the nation’s top school superintendents on racketeering charges for cheating on test scores. Continue reading “The Standardised Testing Racket”

The Challenges of Teaching Under High-Stakes Testing

A US Professor of Education reflects on the challenges of teaching under the obsession with high stakes testing. The following is an edited extract from an article published in the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog.

Designed as one measure of student learning, testing has become the end product of our schools. Our schools are no longer designed to produce educated citizens but rather places to produce test results. Continue reading “The Challenges of Teaching Under High-Stakes Testing”

New Group to Oppose NAPLAN Tests

A new coalition has been set up to organise support for a boycott of the NAPLAN tests. The Boycott Naplan Coalition was founded by three groups: The Popular Education Network Australia PENA, The Teacher and Education Support Staff Alliance TESA and the Say No To Naplan group.

A statement by the group says the organisations came together in recognition of the need to grow a loud and united opposition to the tests, to continue to share the research and facts challenging the usefulness of the tests and to provide a vehicle for others to also collaborate on such a project. Continue reading “New Group to Oppose NAPLAN Tests”

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”