School Myths Busted

In the wake of the latest version of My School two researchers have published a startling account of what the numbers behind the website actually show. Former school principals Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd have revealed new findings which challenge myths about Australia’s schools.

While reports are frequently about the ‘drift to the private schools’ Bonnor and Shepherd have found that the drift could be equally seen as one from low socio-educational advantage (SEA) schools to higher SEA schools. As recently reported on Lateline, they show that enrolments are increasing in higher SEA government schools, but declining in low SEA government schools.

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What My School Really Says About Our Schools

The following article is a summary of a new report called School Daze by Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd.

Australia’s schools are very diverse, if only because of where they are and who they serve. Educational diversity is something to value, but we also have a social diversity, in fact a socio-educational hierarchy of schools which is serving some people more than others – and not serving the nation at all well.

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OECD Report Highlights Education Inequity in Australia

A new OECD report shows that a significant proportion of Australian students are not achieving expected standards in mathematics, reading and science. It shows that low performance is strongly associated with the socio-economic status (SES) of students’ families and schools. It also shows that the incidence of teacher shortage and lower quality educational resources is higher in schools with a high proportion of low achieving students. It says that additional resources and a multi-pronged approach are needed to address low performance.

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NAPLAN Online Test of Writing Could Widen the Achievement Gap

Last year, there was widespread criticism of the plan by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to take the NAPLAN persuasive writing test online. Two hand-picked Federal Government advisors said it would discriminate against disadvantaged students. It has also been widely criticised by teachers’ unions. Continue reading “NAPLAN Online Test of Writing Could Widen the Achievement Gap”

Integrating Immigrant Children in School is an Australian Success Story

A new OECD report provides some interesting perspective on the debate over immigration in Europe and the Paris terrorist attacks. It shows a sharp contrast between the integration of immigrant children in schools in France and Belgium compared to Australia. Immigrant children in France and Belgium are the most alienated in the OECD, indicating a failure of integration, whereas far fewer immigrant children in Australia are alienated from school.

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Unequal Access to Curriculum is Widening Achievement Gaps in Schools

A new study has found that there is a vast gap between rich and poor in the opportunity to learn rigorous mathematics in Australia’s schools. Unequal access to the maths curriculum in Australia is amongst the highest in the OECD. The study also found that unequal access to the maths curriculum is a major factor behind the large achievement gap in mathematics between rich and poor. Continue reading “Unequal Access to Curriculum is Widening Achievement Gaps in Schools”

Growing Social Segregation in Australia’s Schools

Social segregation in Australian schools is increasing according to a research paper published last month. It says that schools are becoming more segregated in terms of both class and ethnicity and it has serious implications equity in education and for multiculturalism and social cohesion.

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Completing Secondary School Increases Employment Prospects

New OECD data shows that Australia has made spectacular progress in the last 30 years in reducing the percentage of adults who do not complete secondary school. It shows that the percentage of low educated adults dropped by nearly three times, from 39 to 14 per cent.

However, the new data also shows that further improvement is necessary. A significant percentage of young people leave school before completing Year 12 and they are twice as likely to have low numeracy scores and to be unemployed as those who complete secondary school. Continue reading “Completing Secondary School Increases Employment Prospects”

Dropping Out of School is Deadly

A large proportion of Australian students do not complete Year 12. According to the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services 2015, 26 per cent of the potential Year 12 population did not complete Year 12 in 2013 and 32 per cent of low SES students did not complete the final year of school. New research shows that not completing Year 12 is a deadly decision.

The research, published last week in the scientific and medical journal PLOS ONE, found that completion of high school leads to lower levels of mortality and that not completing school may be as deadly as smoking.

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Study Finds that School SES has a Strong Impact on Student Achievement

A new study published in the latest issue of the British Educational Research Journal shows that the socio-economic composition of schools has a large effect on student achievement. A student attending a school with low average socio-economic status (SES) tends to have lower school outcomes than a student from a similar family background attending a school with high average student SES.

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