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”

Reporting School Results and League Tables

The following is a speech to the Branch Council of the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union by Trevor Cobbold, National Convenor of Save Our Schools, on 15 April. It shows how Federal and State/Territory have duped the Australian public about school league tables, summarises the case against reporting school results and league tables and calls for them to be resisted by parents and teachers.

Continue reading “Reporting School Results and League Tables”

School Closure Savings Figures are Outdated, Misleading and Not Believable

The estimates of government savings from school closures during 2006-2008 presented to the Estimates Committee of the ACT Legislative Assembly recently are outdated, misleading and not believable.

The Minister for Education, Andrew Barr, has treated the Estimates process with contempt by providing savings estimates made in 2006 before any school closures occurred and by failing to take account of ongoing costs of the closures. Continue reading “School Closure Savings Figures are Outdated, Misleading and Not Believable”

The Fudging of School Results Begins

School performance reporting and league tables create pressures and incentives for schools to fudge their results.

Competition for higher rankings forces schools to “play the system” to show improvement even where there is none. Playing the system is the quick route to better results. It is a feature of school performance reporting wherever it has been adopted. Continue reading “The Fudging of School Results Begins”

Performance Pay Schemes Are Unreliable and Misleading

It seems that performance pay based on gains in student achievement may not be so good at identifying good teachers as its advocates claim.

It has been delivered a body blow by a major new study published in the United States. The study shows that “value-added” methods for determining the effectiveness of classroom teachers are built on very shaky assumptions and may be highly unreliable and misleading. Continue reading “Performance Pay Schemes Are Unreliable and Misleading”

League Tables Will Damage Education

Australian education ministers are being duplicitous on school league tables. They claim to be opposed to ‘simplistic’ league tables but are providing the information to enable their publication.

League tables are inevitable because school results are to be published on a centralized national website, as well as on several state and territory websites. It will be a simple matter for anyone to construct school rankings from them. Continue reading “League Tables Will Damage Education”

New League Table Exposes Hollow Assurances

A proposed new league table of Australian schools has exposed government assurances on the issue as hollow, Save Our Schools (SOS) said today.

SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, called for an inquiry into the harm caused by league tables. Continue reading “New League Table Exposes Hollow Assurances”

School Closures Under Challenge

School closures continue to be a hot issue around Australia as communities question government programs to close schools and set up super schools.

Parents and teachers have expressed concern at the pressure put on schools to merge by governments. Governments appear to be using Federal economic stimulus funds and Building the Education Revolution to put pressure on smaller schools to close or merge.

Generally, governments are failing to consider the educational and social impacts of closing and merging schools. Selling off closed school sites to gain more revenue seems to be the main priority of governments.

Continue reading “School Closures Under Challenge”