Showing posts with label school ranking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school ranking. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Opportunity lost

The half cohort was a wonderful opportunity for DET to regain some lost pride and gain momentum in the public sector. It was an opportunity to reduce class sizes for no extra cost in high schools even if the reduction was only in the short term. Lower class sizes could have meant lower staff/student ratios, increased opportunity for intervention and a real marketing advantage against mid range private schools (where class sizes have increased). This could have attracted a lot of students back to the public sector that have been lost due to issues with BMIS, the half cohort and OBE.

Unfortunately, schools are adjusting their teacher ratios down causing issues with maintaining a range of course offerings. This raises the possibility of actually increasing class sizes as year groups are being combined into single classrooms (in an attempt to maintain diversity in offered courses) and also increases the complexity by teaching students of increased variation of maturity. It is likely that more teachers will teach in areas outside their specialisation (fewer teachers means fewer timetabling options). Admin time will be spent on deciding who will go and how losses will be managed over the next five years.

It's pointless and a waste of resources.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

School ranking in WA and the need for small classes

Low socio-economic areas have the same numbers of bright kids than high socio-economic areas but with many environmental factors affecting their grades. These students are now reliant on alternate entry paths as cross state assessment (moderation) has created geographical location bias - student IQ is no longer a consideration when assessed, kids in low socioeconomic areas are no longer scaled for their environmental inequity.

One only has to look at a disadvantaged area of Perth such as North East - Girrawheen, Balga, Warwick, Mirrabooka, Koondoola, Ballajura. These areas have gone through urban renewal which means there are now pockets of high ability students and schools with little or no TEE capability left.

In 2007/2008 Balcatta SHS (31/31 students), Balga SHS (0/0 students), Girrawheen SHS (15/18 students), Mirrabooka SHS (18/19 students) and Warwick SHS (43/38 students) all had less than 50 students sitting 4 or more TEE subjects - the general minimum for front door university entry. Each school had no more than 30% of these reaching above a TER of 66%. This means that students in these schools have at maximum 15 students that are capable of traditional university entry and of supporting each other towards this goal. If we take away the ability for these schools to offer small class sizes (as is current DET policy) we are effectively closing the front door to university for students in these areas.

I suggest that alternatives such as GATE programmes are not viable for these students as they generally lack the mobility, maturity and financial capability to travel distances to specialist schools. Nor is correspondence such as SIDE an option for students that require high levels of support to succeed due to environmental constraints (I know I couldn't do TEE calculus by email).

Data used can be found here: pages 23-27.

League Tables for all schools 2000-2009 can be found here:
The myschool website can be found here

(Updated 9 January 2009)
(Updated 14 January 2010)
(Updated 28 January 2010)
(Updated 5 January 2011)