Rank schools, says the Herald-Sun

The Herald-Sun hasn’t waited long to get its teeth into the eduction debate about school achievement. The new MySchool website (which I blogged about late last year) was launched today, but it already doesn’t go far enough for the high standards of the Melbourne tabloid. I hope to talk more about this later, particularly Ms Gillard’s remarks that parents should ‘badger’ schools and teachers until they improve. Meanwhile,  I reprint today’s editorial in full below.

Rank schools to get results
THIS morning, subject to the vagaries of technology, parents will be given information to help them make one of the most important decisions in their lives: where to send their children to school.
Needless to say, it will also be one of the most important decisions in their children’s lives.
It comes as fees at private schools are increasing and more parents are considering whether to send their children to a public school.
But, cost aside, which school parents choose should be based on a range of priorities, which includes where a school ranks in academic performance.
The My School website will allow parents to make some comparisons between schools within their immediate area.
But it doesn’t go far enough. Many teachers and principals, as well as Education Minister Julia Gillard, think ranking schools will hurt underperforming schools.
The opposite is the case. Government and teachers must ensure these schools improve, not hide their inadequacies.
The argument that publishing so-called league tables will only stigmatise the poorer performing schools is a false one.
Comparing the nation’s schools would make the Government and education authorities accountable.
Parents themselves face an impossible task in forcing change at mediocre schools. They need to be able to point to the information provided by full disclosure of every school’s performance to demand improvement.
The information on the My School website today is a significant move in the right direction, but falls short of clearly ranking the nation’s 10,000 schools.

My School

mySkool

It’s not written as a web 2.0 marketeer might put it; perhaps it would be “mySkoole”, lower case  in a nice pastel colour but this innocuous looking site will soon develop teeth. It’s the Federal Government’s answer to questions about transparency and accountability, and it’s a limited one word answer called ‘Tests’.  Look out for how the Herald-Sun translates this into league tables when it goes live. Oh, and Victoria will have one too.

My School

Teach to the test

Why is that our current governments, both state and federal, seem to look to the rest of the world for the very worst of educational practice? From NY to New Jersey the current government fad is accountability and transparency, but only in such a dumbed down way that we can use in a 6 second TV sound-bite.

This time round the State Government in Victoria is looking to link teacher pay with student performance in national tests for literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN). Students results would form part of a ‘scorecard’ (we all understand what a scorecard is, right?) that might lead to up to $7000 in bonus payments.

What could happen; teaching to the tests? (which are narrow, shallow and statistically dubious)

Full article is in the AGE HERE

Assessment for Learning

glasson_img-4071232-0001

I was replying to an email from a colleague about some ideas for formative assessment and I was surprised  that I hadn’t ever mentioned that here, or a great resource we’ve been using.

This year a big focus for our teacher learning has been around formative assessment or assessment for learning and a key resource we’ve used has been Toni Glasson’s excellent book, Improving Student Achievement. Published by the Curriculum Corporation it’s a very practical and user-friendly way into some of these ideas.  I’m sorry I haven’t mentioned it earlier!