Student absenteeism is a well-documented factor in poor
performance at school. Students who skip
school, skip classes and arrive late for school tend to have lower test scores
[OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What
Makes Schools Successful? Resources, Policies and Practices (Volume IV),
2013, p. 60].
It is likely to be a factor behind the high proportion of Australian
students who do not achieve expected international standards in reading,
mathematics and science. Data from PISA 2015 show that a much higher percentage
of Australian students skipped a day of
school at least once in the two weeks prior to the PISA test than in other
high performing countries and the OECD average.
Continue reading “Student Absenteeism is High in Australia”
Earlier this week principals in Victorian government primary schools were stunned to learn that as from the beginning of 2017 that all students would have to be able to swim 50 metres continuously by the time they finished year 6. Swimming would become a mandatory part of the new Victorian Curriculum as part of the Andrews Government’s aim to prevent deaths by drowning.
It didn’t help that principals found this out via the media.
There is no disagreement about the goal – having all children competent in swimming is a no brainer. But, as is too often the case, the devil is in the detail and in this case the detail doesn’t stack up. More’s the pity because with some meaningful consultation between the government and school principals, so many of the self-inflicted obstacles to potential success with this initiative could have been avoided and the government would have been on a winner.
Continue reading “Schools in Deep Water Over Mandatory Swim Lessons”
Technology will revolutionize the classroom! I have been hearing these promises for most of my 20 year physics teaching career and yet there is scant high quality evidence for it. Cyber schools show little learning. The OECD found “no appreciable improvement in student achievement” with large scale investments in computer technology. Computer technology seems like such a natural fit in the classroom. Why has it not been the game changer that it should be?
Continue reading “Technology is No Game-Changer in the Classroom”
A study published by
the US National Bureau of Economic
Research this week shows that bringing all students up to a basic level of
education increases work force skills and economic growth. It adds to the
substantial weight of international and Australian evidence that increasing
student achievement increases economic growth.
Continue reading “More Evidence That Better School Results Increases Economic Growth”
Recent research on school size suggests that student results
tend to be lower in large primary schools than in small schools, but at the
secondary level the results are mixed. The research also indicates that
disadvantaged students tend to do better in smaller schools. Large schools also
tend to have poorer social outcomes and lower parental involvement.
Continue reading “School Size Matters”
A comprehensive new review of research on the impact of early childhood education in Australia and overseas shows that universal access to preschool education enhances developmental outcomes for all children, particularly for disadvantaged children. The review was published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Continue reading “Preschool Education Has Major Benefits”
Australia’s heavy investment in computer-based technology in schools has failed to improve student performance in reading, mathematics and science according to a new report published by the OECD last week. Australian students are very high users of computer technology at school and at home, but this has not translated into learning improvements. The high expectations for new technology in schools have not been realised. Continue reading “Australia’s Heavy Investment in Computers in Schools Has Not Paid Off”
Nino Napoli, disgraced Victorian Education Department bureaucrat, may be the public face of the most disgraceful and shameful episode in living memory in Victorian state education, but he is far from being the whole story.
The IBAC Inquiry has uncovered corruption on a breathtaking scale. Disturbingly it involves erstwhile highly respected senior bureaucrats and long serving principals. Many in education are appalled at the revelations that millions of dollars of public money has been siphoned off for private use. That the funds were earmarked for expenditure on disadvantaged children and needy schools renders the behaviour utterly disgraceful. More than a few principals and teachers have been reduced to tears. Continue reading “Victorian Education Corruption Scandal: Our Children Deserve Much Better”
The success of East Asian countries in international tests has led to a flurry of interest in many other countries, including Australia, to analyse the reasons for this success and apply the lessons. However, a paper published last month by internationally renowned US educator, Yong Zhao, shows that East Asian countries are abandoning education practices and policies that many outside observers have praised. The targets for reform are the very education practices and policies that have been praised by outside observers – national curriculum, high-stakes testing, meritocracy, direct instruction, and long school hours. Continue reading “Lessons That Matter From East Asian Education”
The following is a
summary of a working paper published by SOS. It reviews a range of school
outcomes in Australia. The paper can be downloaded below. It is the first in a
series of working papers to be published in coming months on equity in
education and school funding in Australia. Comments are invited on the paper
and can be sent to SOS at email@example.com. References will be included in the final version,
but are available on request.
Australia has a high quality education system. It has high
average results in reading, mathematics and science by international standards
and it ranks consistently amongst the top performing countries. Australia is
one of the top performers in all-round results. However, Australia’s
international test results have largely stagnated or declined over the past 15
years. Australia is one of few countries
whose PISA results for 15 year old students have declined in the last decade.
Continue reading “Australia Has High Quality, but Mixed School Outcomes”