Shameful School Results Indict the Stanhope Government

The latest international test results put the Stanhope Government to shame. The new report of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows that education standards are declining and inequity is increasing in the ACT.

The results are disastrous. Average results have fallen and large achievement gaps between rich and poor continue unabated. These results are a grave social injustice and threaten the high skill base on which the local economy depends. They demand a new approach to education policy and funding.

Continue reading “Shameful School Results Indict the Stanhope Government”

Schools Off-Load Low Achieving Students to Boost League Table Ranking

Low achieving students are being off-loaded by schools in England in order to boost their league table rankings according to a report published by the think-tank Civitas last month. It found that low achieving students with bad behaviour are more likely to be transferred than higher achieving students with bad behaviour. Continue reading “Schools Off-Load Low Achieving Students to Boost League Table Ranking”

New OECD Study Reveals Many Problems in Using Test Results for School and Teacher Accountability

A study just published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has some lessons for Australia’s school reporting system. It says that while accountability based on student test results can change teacher and school behaviour it often involves unintended strategic behaviour such as teaching to the test and manipulation of results. Continue reading “New OECD Study Reveals Many Problems in Using Test Results for School and Teacher Accountability”

Gillard Rejected Advice that My School Data has “Serious Problems”

The Prime Minister claimed last week that what is “truly powerful” about My School is the comparison of like schools. In making this claim, she has rejected the advice of the COAG Reform Council that the data used to construct like school groups has “significant problems”.

The Council says that the data is inadequate and not robust because many parents refuse to disclose information about their education and occupation. This data, which is drawn from school enrolment forms, will be used in My School 2.0 to calculate the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) for each school. Schools with similar ICSEA values are grouped as “like schools’ Continue reading “Gillard Rejected Advice that My School Data has “Serious Problems””

Grattan Institute Report Ignores Disadvantage in Education

A new report published by the Grattan Institute says that millions of dollars are being wasted on class size reductions which would be better spent on improving teacher quality. However, its analysis and policy recommendation are overly simplistic and fail to address the central issue of overcoming the effects of disadvantage in education. Continue reading “Grattan Institute Report Ignores Disadvantage in Education”

‘Drill and Kill’ Tests Under Review

The UK Education Secretary, Michael Grove, has announced a review of end-of-primary school tests in England. According to the Guardian, the inquiry is likely to lead to an overhaul of school league tables and could recommend that the tests be scrapped.

The government has agreed to the review in order to avoid a repeat of the actions this year which saw a quarter of primary schools boycott the tests. A panel of school principals and education experts chaired by a member of the House of Lords will conduct the review.

The review will look at key concerns raised by teachers and principals. They say the current system forces teachers to “drill” students and concentrate on those who are on the border between a good and bad grade to ensure higher rankings in league tables. Continue reading “‘Drill and Kill’ Tests Under Review”

We Have to Put an End to this Funding Farce

It is no exaggeration to say that the future of Australia’s education system is in the hands of the Gonski committee, currently reviewing school funding. It is clear that a fundamental change in government funding priorities is required but it remains to be seen whether the Gonski committee, with its unbalanced representation, is up to the task.

The greatest challenge facing Australia’s education system is to reduce the large achievement gaps between rich and poor. Continue reading “We Have to Put an End to this Funding Farce”

Statistics Expert Slams the My School Website as Useless

A visiting British professor of statistics has slammed the My School website as useless, misleading and producing perverse effects.

Bristol University statistician, Harvey Goldstein, said that test scores on My School do not reflect the school’s teaching capacity, but rather the standard of students enrolled. Continue reading “Statistics Expert Slams the My School Website as Useless”