Teachers Pressured to Change Student Results to Increase School Ranking

Over one-third of Chicago public high school teachers say they have been pressured to change student grades at some point in their careers in order to improve school results. Continue reading “Teachers Pressured to Change Student Results to Increase School Ranking”

Gillard’s Favourite School Reporting Model is Totally Discredited

Julia Gillard’s beloved New York City school reporting system has been totally discredited following the release of new letter grades for New York City elementary and middle schools last week. The new results have been received with utter disbelief and ridicule by the New York media, academics and parent groups. Continue reading “Gillard’s Favourite School Reporting Model is Totally Discredited”

Looking Back at School Closure Issues in the ACT

Convenor of Save Our Schools, Trevor Cobbold, delivered a paper on school mergers and closures to a forum in Adelaide on 3 September 2009 sponsored by the South Australian Branch of the Australian Education Union. The forum was titled “Education Works or Education Wilderness?”

The paper describes the background to the school closures announced by the ACT Government in 2006 and discusses the key issues and lessons arising from the campaign against school closures.

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Call for ‘Health’ Warning on School Results

Julia Gillard and other Australian education ministers would be well advised to have a close look at a report published last month by a leading group of academics in England.

The report recommends that school test results should be published with a “health” warning. It says this is necessary because raw test scores only measure part of what schools do and are influenced by factors beyond schools’ control. It warns that publishing school test results may damage the very outcomes that it was designed to improve. The report also raises questions about the validity of like school comparisons. Continue reading “Call for ‘Health’ Warning on School Results”

Studies Show that Smaller Schools Do Better than Large Schools

Small schools do better than large schools on a variety of school variables including student achievement according to a new review of studies on the effects of school size on education. Further, it found that students from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds are the major beneficiaries of smaller schools.

The review examined 57 studies conducted since 1990. The studies assessed the impact of school size on a variety of school outcomes, cost efficiency and teachers. The vast majority examined the relationship between school size and various measures of student outcomes. It found that smaller schools were better suited to most purposes. Continue reading “Studies Show that Smaller Schools Do Better than Large Schools”

OECD Study Says that Markets Fail to Increase Innovation in Education

A new study published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found that markets in education do not lead to innovation in teaching and curriculum. It finds that it is government intervention which is more likely to create improvements. Continue reading “OECD Study Says that Markets Fail to Increase Innovation in Education”

Proposal to Re-locate the Islamic School Involves Major Policy Contradictions

It seems that the Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, and the Minister for Education, Andrew Barr, have got their messages mixed – yet again. The ACT Government’s approach to school planning is shown once again to be riven by policy contradictions.

Last week, the Chief Minister announced that the vacant government-owned CIT Horticulture School site in Weston might be used to re-locate the Islamic School of Canberra from its current location on the old Watson High School site. The school has also applied to open a high school.  The Chief Minister virtually endorsed the proposal, subject to a community consultation.

In the Chronicle last week, the Minister for Education, Andrew Barr, stated emphatically that it is not government policy to hand over former school sites to private schools. He said that former school sites are publicly owned facilities that will remain in community use.

Continue reading “Proposal to Re-locate the Islamic School Involves Major Policy Contradictions”

Gillard Renews Threat of Sanctions Against Lowly Ranked Schools

Julia Gillard has yet again raised the spectre of using school results to punish low performing schools. She said on the SBS Insight program that principals deserve to be sacked if they repeatedly fail to lift their school’s performance. Continue reading “Gillard Renews Threat of Sanctions Against Lowly Ranked Schools”

Cheating on Tests Corrupts School Comparisons

In the last few weeks, several incidents of teachers cheating on tests used to compare schools were revealed in Lancashire in England, in Washington DC and the US state of Georgia.

They add to the stream of similar incidents in both countries since school performance comparisons were introduced. They demonstrate the extreme pressure placed on teachers and principals where test results are used to compare school performance. Cheating also further reduces the reliability of school results as a measure of school and teacher quality. Continue reading “Cheating on Tests Corrupts School Comparisons”