Australia’s Educational Attainment is Improving

Educational achievement amongst Australia’s adult population is on a par with the OECD average, but significantly below several other high income countries according to the OECD’s latest annual, Education at a Glance. However, attainment is significantly higher for Australia’s younger age groups compared to older age groups, indicating that education levels have improved over generations. Continue reading “Australia’s Educational Attainment is Improving”

Australia’s School Expenditure is Below OECD Average

A new OECD report on education shows that Australia spends less on school education than most other industrialised countries. Australia ranks 16th in primary school spending out of 22 industrialised countries and 13th out of 23 countries in secondary school expenditure according to the OECD’s latest annual review of international education, Education at a Glance, published last week. Continue reading “Australia’s School Expenditure is Below OECD Average”

Window of Opportunity to Improve Equity in Education

The crucial role of Green and independent support for the new Gillard minority government has created a window of opportunity for a serious effort to close the huge achievement gaps in our schools and improve equity in education. The focus should be to address the large burden of education disadvantage carried by government schools.

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Expert Report Slams Value-Added Ratings of Teachers

Value-added ratings of teachers have been slammed in a new report by education measurement experts in the United States.

The report says that the ratings are highly error-prone, will lead to unreliable and unfair assessments and will have significant harmful consequences. It says that they should not be used as a major factor in teacher assessment and calls for a more comprehensive approach to teacher evaluation. Continue reading “Expert Report Slams Value-Added Ratings of Teachers”

Unlocking the Gates of School Segregation

The children’s charity, Bernado’s says that impenetrable “clusters of privilege” are forming around the best state schools in England. In a report released last week, Bernado’s says that privileged children are monopolising the top state schools in England and poorer families are losing out in a complex and unfair system.

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The New York Bubble Bursts

For years, the citizens of New York City have been told its schools were rapidly improving as a result of “reforms” instigated by its billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and Schools Chancellor, Joel Klein. Both claimed that dramatic increases in state test scores since 2006 were evidence that the city’s schools have improved.

The proof was supposedly in the numbers. In 2009, 82% of New York City students passed the state mathematics tests compared to only 57% in 2006. In 2009, 85% of New York City elementary and middle schools received an ‘A’ grade, compared to only 38% in 2008; 97% achieved an A or a B grade compared to 60% in 2007.

In Australia, Julia Gillard as Federal Education Minister praised the results and drew inspiration from the New York school accountability model for My School. She said that the changes introduced by Klein are “working” and produced “remarkable outcomes”. She sponsored Klein on a tour of Australia to tout his achievements. She said Klein was her hero.

Well, it has all been a mirage and now the bubble has burst. Continue reading “The New York Bubble Bursts”

Focus on Test Results Can Be Harmful to Student Learning

Children do better in their exams when their teachers focus on learning, rather than on test results, according to a detailed research survey just published by the Institute of Education at the University of London. Continue reading “Focus on Test Results Can Be Harmful to Student Learning”

Measures of Value Added by Teachers and Schools Have Large Errors

A new report released at the end of July by the National Centre for Education Evaluation, a division of the US Department of Education, has serious implications for Labor and Liberal plans to identify the best performing teachers and schools in Australia and give them cash bonuses.

It shows that a large proportion of the payments could go to the wrong teachers and the wrong schools. Highly performing teachers and schools could be overlooked and average teachers and schools wrongly rated as highly effective. Continue reading “Measures of Value Added by Teachers and Schools Have Large Errors”

Duels of Faith in Teacher Bonuses

This is an abridged version of an Education Research Brief published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below. 

Labor and the Liberals are duelling over teacher bonuses as the “way forward” in education policy. Both will implement bonus schemes without regard to the evidence that teacher bonuses appear to have little impact on student achievement. Both parties are acting out of faith and the result is likely to be a huge waste of money. All they will do is encourage more teaching to the test and artificial inflation of test scores. Continue reading “Duels of Faith in Teacher Bonuses”

Reducing the Achievement Gap Between Rich and Poor is a National Priority

The massive achievement gap between rich and poor is the biggest challenge facing Australian education today. Australia has amongst the best results in the world, but also a very large achievement gap between rich and poor.

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