Independent Public Schools are No Panacea for School Improvement

A review of academy schools, the English version of independent public schools, says that they are not a “panacea” for better schools. The report published earlier this month by the Academies Commission says “greater independence and freedom are not sufficient in themselves to secure improvement” [p. 41].

The report also found that many academies were manipulating admissions to select and exclude particular students so as to bolster their market position. It said this is increasing social segregation which is “a problem for equality of opportunity and to system improvement” [p.7].

The report calls for more collaboration between schools, supported by government funding. It says that school-to-school collaboration is one of the key routes to school improvement, but it is being undermined by academies operating in isolation from other schools and the system. Continue reading “Independent Public Schools are No Panacea for School Improvement”

The Rebellion Against Testing in the US Continues to Grow

The rebellion against high stakes testing in the United States that began early last year continues to grow. In recent weeks, there have been some significant developments with teachers in Seattle refusing to administer tests and Republican legislators in Texas deciding to cut back tests. Continue reading “The Rebellion Against Testing in the US Continues to Grow”

Competition and Choice Fail to Produce Better Student Results

Another new study has refuted the case that more competition and choice between schools leads to higher student results. The paper reviewed research evidence in several countries and concluded that it is “mixed and modest”. It also found that choice and competition leads to greater social stratification between schools. Continue reading “Competition and Choice Fail to Produce Better Student Results”

Mixed ACT Results from TIMSS & PIRLS 2011

The ACT achieved mixed results in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) for 2011. ACT students achieved high average results but there was little improvement since 1995 and it has large achievement gaps in Year 8. Continue reading “Mixed ACT Results from TIMSS & PIRLS 2011”

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”

Parent Engagement Improves Student Achievement

A  new report shows that parent engagement in learning improves student achievement, attitudes to school and wellbeing. It says that resourcing and developing parent engagement initiatives is essential to education reform and the future of Australia. Continue reading “Parent Engagement Improves Student Achievement”

The Federal Govt. Should End the Secrecy on its School Funding Model

The Federal Government should end the secrecy on its preferred school funding model and release the details for public comment. There is a very real danger that the needs of government schools and disadvantaged students are being discounted in secret negotiations with state governments and private schools. Ending the secrecy would allow government school organisations to participate in the discussions.

Continue reading “The Federal Govt. Should End the Secrecy on its School Funding Model”

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”