New Study Undermines Case for a Year 1 Phonics Test

A new study comprehensively refutes the claim that phonetics is little used in teaching reading in Australian schools. It shows that the large majority of teachers in Australian primary schools use a combination of methods in teaching reading, including phonetics.

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Increased School Funding Increases Post-Secondary Attainment

A new academic study has found that increased expenditure on primary schools has positive long-term effects on educational attainment. The study, published in the November issue of the journal Applied Economics, found that a 10% increase in spending for grades 4-7 in Michigan resulted in a 7% increase in college enrolment and an 11% increase in college completion. It also found that the additional expenditure led to an increase of 3–5 percentage points in high school graduation rates. Continue reading “Increased School Funding Increases Post-Secondary Attainment”

Elite Melbourne Private Schools to Get Big Funding Windfalls from Turnbull Government

Several wealthy Melbourne private schools are set to get large windfall gains from the Turnbull Government’s Gonski 2.0 funding model after revisions to their assessed student need. Many of the schools will get increases of $1-$3.2 million between 2018 and 2027 because their student need has been revised upwards. Yet, about 75% or more of the students in these schools are from the most advantaged families in Victoria. Continue reading “Elite Melbourne Private Schools to Get Big Funding Windfalls from Turnbull Government”

OECD Report Shows that the Allocation of Resources in Australian Schools is Highly Inequitable

A new report by the OECD shows that about one-third of the variation in science performance across OECD countries is explained by the degree of equity in the allocation of educational resources across advantaged and disadvantaged schools. Countries with more equitable systems performed better on average. The report shows that the allocation of resources in Australian schools is highly inequitable.

The report shows that students in socio-economically disadvantaged schools in Australia are less exposed than students in advantaged schools to the learning environments and educational resources that matter the most for science performance. Effective teaching practices, a favourable school climate, exposure to science and access to educational resources are all better in advantaged schools than in disadvantaged schools in Australia. Continue reading “OECD Report Shows that the Allocation of Resources in Australian Schools is Highly Inequitable”

Pathetic Response by Teach for Australia to Criticisms

Teach for Australia (TFA) has abjectly failed to answer criticisms of the program. Save Our Schools has criticised TFA on several grounds:
• The large majority of its teachers are in marginally disadvantaged schools instead of highly disadvantaged schools;
• Its attrition rate is very much higher than for traditionally-trained early career teachers;
• The high turnover of TFA teachers imposes additional financial and human resource costs on schools and negatively impacts on disadvantaged students;
• It is a very high cost program in comparison with traditional teacher training; and
• There is no substantive evidence that TFA teachers improve student results more than traditionally trained teachers. Continue reading “Pathetic Response by Teach for Australia to Criticisms”

Study Shows Beneficial Effects of Increased Expenditure on Pre-School and Schools

A new study published by the prestigious US National Bureau of Economic Research has found that increased expenditure on disadvantaged pre-schoolers and disadvantaged schools improves school results and life outcomes. It shows strong synergies between increased expenditure on pre-school programs and school education. While spending of either type improved academic outcomes to some degree, access to both resulted in a dynamic complementarity that offered far greater long- term benefits. The findings suggest that early investments in the education of disadvantaged children that are followed by sustained educational investments over time can effectively break the cycle of poverty. Continue reading “Study Shows Beneficial Effects of Increased Expenditure on Pre-School and Schools”

Teach for Australia Fails in its Mission

An evaluation report on the fast-track teacher training program, Teach for Australia (TFA), raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the program. It shows that TFA teachers are not being placed in genuinely disadvantaged schools and a high proportion leave teaching within three years of completing the program. It calls for changes to increase retention such as longer placement lengths, or incentives for TFA teachers to stay in disadvantaged classrooms. There are also serious questions about the cost effectiveness of TFA and its impact on student outcomes.

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Scotch College Property Buying Spree Supported by the Taxpayer

It was reported in The Age this week that the elite Melbourne private school, Scotch College, has been on a $25 million spending spree over the past 20 years buying up surrounding properties to expand the school. It is part of the facilities arms race between wealthy private schools to market the school and lure students.

What The Age report did not mention is that this spending spree was directly and indirectly supported by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments. Continue reading “Scotch College Property Buying Spree Supported by the Taxpayer”

PISA Rankings Are Misleading Because of Differences in Student Coverage

One of the standout performers in the results from PISA 2015 was Vietnam. It achieved a ranking of 8th in science with a score of 525, which was significantly above Australia’s score of 510. More remarkably, only 6% of its students were below the minimum PISA standard compared to 18% of students in Australia. Vietnam had the smallest proportion of students below the science standard of the 72 countries and economies participating in PISA 2015.

However, there seems to be more than meets the eye in these results because over half of Vietnam’s 15-year-old population was not covered by the PISA sample because they were not in school. Continue reading “PISA Rankings Are Misleading Because of Differences in Student Coverage”

Community Schools Are a Successful Strategy for School Improvement

Community schools can be a successful strategy for improving schools according to a new review of research studies and program evaluations. It found strong evidence that well-implemented community schools contribute to school improvement, particularly in the case of high-poverty schools. It is a strategy that should be considered by the Gonski review on how funding should be used to improve school performance and student achievement.

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