Saturday, November 14, 2009

School report cards

Last year Julia Gillard forced through school report cards to be made available based on the statistically questionable NAPLAN results. She stated that league tables would not be made from them.

Anyone with an ounce of sense realised this was nonsense. Then she linked agreement to funding - "Do it or else!"

Here is an excerpt from what the report cards are to look like:

Through a simple examination of the card you can see that each school is compared to all schools and to a socioeconomic band.

It is a five minute job to create a league table from this! Promise broken Julia!

It would ignore improvements to the school, discourage entry to the school and undermine any improvement model as students entering the school would be of declining standards (better students would go to the better performing school despite overcrowding/bullying/lower teaching standards etc.)

Of more concern is the second part of the page:

Of interest is the last category: % indigenous students.

What ?? Why should it matter that there are indigenous students in a school?

If we are to encourage students to become Australians, why single out any one portion of the population, why not caucasians, South Africans, Sudanese, Italians or Chinese. Remember this idea is from the minister of social inclusion!

Teaching staff ratios are also misleading. What are teaching staff doing? Quasi administration/pastoral care, specialty positions such as HOD on 0.6, GIRL or GIRN positions, in low ratio classes such as ESL/additional needs.

Whilst we are considering these factors how do refugees, ESL and additional needs students impact on NAPLAN results and school performance? Should they be discouraged from entry to avoid poor results?

This whole concept is just a bad idea. Poor over generalised statistics, designed to mislead the public and is a populist vote grab. This sort of information is best kept within the education system and used for valid statistical purposes until it can be presented in a valid and straightforward way to the public - personally I don't believe this can be done, it is just too complex.

If you are interested in reading more, here is the link to the mySchool website.

Updated 18/11/2009: Seems I'm not the only one concerned. Click here and here.

Updated 18/11/2009: Seems Julia is also the Minister of "wasting public funds", "rhetoric" and "denying the obvious". Click here to read her address on education.

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