Extensive Private Tutoring Corrupts the Reliability of School Comparisons on My School

Private tutoring is the hidden face of Australian education. It is so extensive that it has been called a “shadow education system”. The My School website has given it a huge boost. Continue reading “Extensive Private Tutoring Corrupts the Reliability of School Comparisons on My School”

My School Ignores Differences in the Ethnic Composition of Schools

The so-called “like school” comparisons in the My School website are a travesty. Apart from the flaws in the measure of the socio-economic status of schools, many background factors which influence school results are ignored. A key factor which is ignored is the ethnic profile of schools.

Children from particular ethnic groups are often concentrated in particular areas and schools, and children from some ethnic communities are highly concentrated in government schools. Performance disparities between “like” schools may reflect differences in ethnic composition rather than differences in school practices. Continue reading “My School Ignores Differences in the Ethnic Composition of Schools”

A Critique of the SES Funding Model for Private Schools

The Federal Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has announced that a review of school funding arrangements will commence in 2010 and conclude in 2011. The review will examine the funding of all schools – government and private.

A key part will be a review of future funding for private schools. The case for change is compelling. Continue reading “A Critique of the SES Funding Model for Private Schools”

Misclassification Errors in My School Comparisons: A Response to Professor McGaw

The Chairman of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, Professor Barry McGaw, has rejected criticisms made by Save Our Schools (SOS) that the “like school” comparisons on the My School website are biased in favour of private schools. But, his response effectively proves the SOS case and he fails to produce any evidence to support his claims. Indeed, the available evidence supports the SOS case. Continue reading “Misclassification Errors in My School Comparisons: A Response to Professor McGaw”

Missing Census Data May Further Bias My School Comparisons

The comparisons of the test results of so-called like schools on My School are biased in favour of private schools. This occurs because it uses a flawed measure of the socio-economic status (SES) of schools to group so-called “like schools” which systematically over-estimates the level of socio-economic disadvantage in private schools and under-estimates disadvantage in government schools. Continue reading “Missing Census Data May Further Bias My School Comparisons”

Principals to Boycott Tests in England

School principals in England have voted overwhelmingly to boycott national tests for Year 6 students to be held in May. It will be the first boycott of national tests for 17 years. It will coincide with the teacher boycott of national literacy and numeracy tests in Australia next month. Continue reading “Principals to Boycott Tests in England”

My School: The Sum of All Fears

The imminent teacher boycott of national literacy and numeracy tests gives cause to assess how well the My School website informs comparisons of school quality. Apart from creating incentives to narrow school curriculum and manipulate school test results, a major flaw is that its so-called “like school” comparisons are systematically biased in favour of private schools. Continue reading “My School: The Sum of All Fears”

Rudd and Gillard Make a Cogent Case to Replace the SES Funding Model for Private Schools

Both the Prime Minister and the Education Minister have in the past made strong cogent criticisms of the current SES model for funding private schools. They have both exposed fundamental flaws in the scheme, but have failed to take action on their criticisms. The SES model should be replaced by a fairer scheme. Continue reading “Rudd and Gillard Make a Cogent Case to Replace the SES Funding Model for Private Schools”

Government Funding of Elite Private Schools is an Upper Class Welfare Policy

A new round of fee increases in private schools in 2010 points to the need for an overhaul of Commonwealth Government funding of private schools. Australia’s wealthiest families are being subsidised under private school funding arrangements without regard to need. The Socio-Economic Status (SES) funding model is an upper class welfare policy. Continue reading “Government Funding of Elite Private Schools is an Upper Class Welfare Policy”

Why Testing Fails: How Numbers Deceive Us All

There is broad agreement, that improving education requires assessing student outcomes, and holding those responsible accountable for the results. But, the use of standardized tests, as a tool for assessment and accountability, has resulted in more disillusionment than improvement. The heavy emphasis on testing mandated by the No Child Left Behind Law, has not lead to the sought after gains in educational outcomes. Continue reading “Why Testing Fails: How Numbers Deceive Us All”