Publication of School Results Does Not Improve Student Achievement

Save Our Schools has published a research paper assessing the claims of the Prime Minister and the Federal Education Minister that reporting school NAPLAN results on the My School website will lead to improved school performance.

The paper reviews three streams of research studies relevant to the Government’s claim: studies of the impact publishing school results, studies of “high stakes” school accountability measures and studies of the impact of greater choice and competition between schools.

The following is a summary of the paper. Continue reading “Publication of School Results Does Not Improve Student Achievement”

Ministers Admit that Security for NAPLAN Tests is Inadequate

Australian education ministers have been forced to concede that security for the NAPLAN tests is inadequate now that they are “high stakes” tests. In effect, ministers have admitted that this year’s test results have been partially corrupted by cheating and rorting. It means that comparisons of results to be published on the My School website later in the year will be misleading in many cases. Continue reading “Ministers Admit that Security for NAPLAN Tests is Inadequate”

Teacher Performance Pay has not Increased Student Results

There are persistent calls for the introduction of performance pay in Australia as a way to improve student achievement. Several performance pay programs have been trialled in the United States in recent years. They offer little evidence that performance pay will increase student results. Continue reading “Teacher Performance Pay has not Increased Student Results”

New York’s Declining Standards Exposed

New York’s testing and reporting system is reeling from yet another scandal about declining standards. It was revealed in the New York Post this week that students received credits in the last round of state tests for blatantly incorrect answers after failing to correctly add, subtract, multiply and divide. Some got credit for no answers at all.

The scoring guides for markers of the state tests reveal that students receive half-credit or more for showing fragments of work related to the problem even if they get the wrong answer or leave the answer blank. Continue reading “New York’s Declining Standards Exposed”

Teach for America is Not the Success Claimed

Teach For America is a flagship program of the US government to improve teaching and student results by fast tracking high achieving graduates into teaching. While it has generated glowing press reports, a new report just published in the US says the evidence about whether it works is, at best, mixed.

The report concludes that the lack of evidence of consistent impact should indicate to policy-makers that TFA is not likely to be the panacea that will reduce disparities in educational outcomes. These findings call into question the likely success of its Australian clone, Teach for Australia, launched by the Federal Education Minister, Julia Gillard, last year. Continue reading “Teach for America is Not the Success Claimed”

Growing Corporate Control of Education Policy

At the end of May, the huge international bank, JPMorgan Chase, announced a $325 million initiative to support building, expanding, and renovating charter schools in the United States [ Education Week, 28 May]. The bank said it would give $50 million in grants to community-development financial institutions to support charter schools. It will also provide about $175 million in debt financing and about $100 million in “new markets tax-credit equity” for charter schools. It said this finance would help underwrite about 40 charter schools.

It is the latest development in a trend in the US in which major corporations and private foundations pour millions of dollars into charter schools which they approve. Continue reading “Growing Corporate Control of Education Policy”

Rorting and Cheating is now the Rule with NAPLAN

The NAPLAN tests this month demonstrated emphatically that Australian schools have entered a new era. Rorting and cheating on NAPLAN are now set to be the rule for the future, under the pressure created by My School and school league tables.

Encouraging low achieving students to stay at home while the NAPLAN tests are on at school, cheating by changing student answers on tests, leaking questions before the tests, intensive practicing of tests and selective enrolment of high achieving students were all used by some schools to artificially inflate their results. Continue reading “Rorting and Cheating is now the Rule with NAPLAN”