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”

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”

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”

Reporting School Results Does Greater Harm Than Good

A sense of righteous outrage has pervaded some responses to the decision of the NSW upper house of Parliament to prohibit published comparisons of school results. Some of it has bordered on the hysterical. Federal Education Minister, Julia Gillard, called it “ridiculous” and “crazy”.

What is ridiculous is the intransigence of the Federal Education Minister and her State and Territory counterparts in proceeding with reporting school results, and the inevitable league tables that will follow, without proper consideration of the harm it will do to students and the school system overall. Continue reading “Reporting School Results Does Greater Harm Than Good”

Encouraging Students to Stay Away on Test Day is a Rort to Increase School Test Scores

Last week many schools bent the rules by encouraging parents of some low achieving students to stay home during the NAPLAN tests. The revelations show that some schools see that a key way to improving test scores is to restrict the participation of low achieving students in the tests because they reduce a school’s test scores. In this, they are following well-established practice used overseas where league tables of school results are published. Continue reading “Encouraging Students to Stay Away on Test Day is a Rort to Increase School Test Scores”