Downsides to East Asian Education Success

A recent report by the Asian Development Bank suggests that high participation in private tutoring in East Asian countries is a factor behind their education success. The report shows that 70-80% of students are engaged in private tutoring and it warns about profound education and social consequences of the “alarming” expansion of tutoring. The report adds to evidence from recent OECD studies that extensive private tutoring is increasing education inequality in Korea and Japan. Continue reading “Downsides to East Asian Education Success”

Testing is Robbing Children of their Childhood and Health

Reports in the world’s media over the last few weeks have told of the immense burden being placed on young children by school tests in cities as far apart as Beijing, New York and Sydney. There was a common thread to the stories – children being robbed of their childhood and their health suffering because of the emphasis now placed on tests in schools. Continue reading “Testing is Robbing Children of their Childhood and Health”

NAPLAN Crowds Out Other Education Goals

When you have simple one dimensional metrics to measure performance people will “game” the outcome.

It is one of the biggest problems that shareholders have in private firms. Many firms prioritise short-term profits over long-term viability (the performance of the financial sector was a great example of this). Continue reading “NAPLAN Crowds Out Other Education Goals”

What NAPLAN Test Prep Has in Common With Trains Skipping Stations

An interesting article was published in The Age last week about Metro Trains, the privately-owned operator of Melbourne’s suburban rail network. Apparently, Metro has resorted to skipping stations and running unscheduled short services in order to avoid being fined for trains running late. Continue reading “What NAPLAN Test Prep Has in Common With Trains Skipping Stations”

Letter of Support from Academics for “Say No to NAPLAN”

Over 100 education academics have signed a letter in support of “Say No to NAPLAN”.

We are a group of Australian academics teaching in universities. As a group we are appalled at the way in which the Commonwealth government has moved to a high stakes testing regime in the form of NAPLAN, despite international evidence that such approaches do not improve children’s learning outcomes. Continue reading “Letter of Support from Academics for “Say No to NAPLAN””

Interview With Diane Ravitch

In this interview on the Charlie Rose show in the US, Diane Ravitch speaks out against high-stakes testing; says that charters don’t get better results than regular public schools; speaks about the importance of having a strong public education system; and lists the things that must be done to improve education: a full curriculum; early childhood education; an end to high-stakes testing; a strong and respected education profession; taking steps to reduce poverty.

Read Diane Ravitch’s book: The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education.

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Is This What We Really Want for Education?

Just as students all around Australia participated in the NAPLAN tests last week, students across the United States are also in their testing season. ‘High-stakes’ tests in the US have been in place for over 20 years and they provide a lesson about what we can expect from NAPLAN and My School in the future. The lesson was spelled out in an article in the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog over the weekend. Here are some excerpts: Continue reading “Is This What We Really Want for Education?”

ACARA Disqualifies Itself from Assessing the Impact of NAPLAN

Save Our Schools today called on the national ministers’ education council to re-commission an investigation of the impact of NAPLAN. Trevor Cobbold, national convenor of SOS, said that the integrity of the investigation had been prejudiced by statements by officials of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) which was charged to do the report. Continue reading “ACARA Disqualifies Itself from Assessing the Impact of NAPLAN”

A Mother’s Plea to the Prime Minister on NAPLAN

Dear Prime Minister,
I have a six year old son. He loves dinosaurs, and is currently obsessed with a Praying Mantis he found in the back yard. Like most kids, he is funny, exhaustingly active and has a mind like a sponge, soaking up learning in a fun and imaginative journey.

When he is old enough (and if it is still around), he will not be taking part in the Naplan testing and I will do anything I can to inform other parents about the limitations of this testing. Continue reading “A Mother’s Plea to the Prime Minister on NAPLAN”

NAPLAN is a Cancer Eating Away at Education

Save Our Schools has received many objections to the NAPLAN tests from parents, teachers and principals in response to its public call for information on the impact of the tests. Trevor Cobbold, National Convenor of SOS, said that the responses show that NAPLAN is having pernicious effects on Australian education. Continue reading “NAPLAN is a Cancer Eating Away at Education”