More Evidence That Better School Results Increases Economic Growth

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.

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School Size Matters

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.

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Preschool Education Has Major Benefits

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 Computers in Schools Has Not Paid Off

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”

Victorian Education Corruption Scandal: Our Children Deserve Much Better

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”

Lessons That Matter From East Asian Education

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”

Australia Has High Quality, but Mixed School Outcomes

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 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.

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More Years of Education Improves Health

A new Australian study has shown that extending the years of education improves health outcomes. The study shows that more education improves people’s diet and their tendency to have more regular exercise but not necessarily to avoid risky health behaviours such as smoking. The results imply that increasing the proportion of students, particularly low SES students, who complete Year 12 will have a positive effect on health outcomes. Continue reading “More Years of Education Improves Health”

In Finland Less = More

Finland is one of the top performing countries in the world in terms of results on international tests in reading, mathematics and science. It succeeds without resort to the long hours of study out of school that characterizes East Asian education success. In the following article an American teacher on a Fulbright scholarship teaching in Finland explores some possible reasons for its success. The full version is available here  Continue reading “In Finland Less = More”

How Good is My School?

It is a sad fact, but true, that in Australia a student’s background greatly influences how well they will do at school. Whether their parents went to university, work as professionals, or whether they live in a rural area or are indigenous, all help to predict a student’s performance. And more so in Australia than in many other countries. Continue reading “How Good is My School?”