Posts Tagged equity

How to raise NAPLAN and PISA scores in 6 easy steps

Raising student performance is really this easy!

Raising student performance is really this easy!

Jk. Hope you took the click bait.

Here is a wrap up of my favourite posts this week in response to the usual sky-is-falling in education, ‘where’s-the-bandaid solution’ sh*tshow that has followed release of the latest PISA results.

If you want some intelligent, grounded-in-reality reading about improving ‘student performance’, I highly recommend:

  1. Misty Adoniou’s piece in The ConversationAustralia’s students are failing. I blame the politicians (PS. So do I)
  2. Charlotte Pezaro’s blog post about a phonics debate that got way out of hand: The unforgivable
  3. Stewart Riddle and Bob Lingard’s piece in The GuardianPisa results don’t look good, but let’s look at what we can learn before we panic
  4. The joint statement by ALEA and PETAA: on phonics instruction in early reading development

Also a few older posts here:

  1. Eileen Honan’s March 2015 piece on the AARE blog EduResearch MattersThis is how Australian teachers are taught how to teach children to read: not just phonics
  2. Darcy Moore’s October 2016 blog post about test data and measuring outcomes: The KFC fix

Please share any or all of the posts above with your friends.

And a reminder, as always, NOT TO FEED THE TROLLS.

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Did you just realise you don’t know what the Gonski Review is?


Catch up on the story so farthe Gonski schools funding review has been through all of the boring phases, and we are now in the throws of watching various stakeholders campaign during these LAST CHANCE weeks for submission of public responses to the review.

Angelo Gavrielatos provides an excellent summary (from the AEU perspective) here:

And if, like me, you find it hard to find any information about how to submit a response online (funny that…) here is the link to the page you need:

The panel invited submissions on the issues reflected in the Emerging Issues Paper between
16 December 2010 and 31 March 2011. This submission process has now closed.

A Paper on Commissioned Research will also be released on 31 August 2011, along with four research reports.  Submissions will be accepted until 30 September 2011.

Please note that all public submissions to the review panel will close on 30 September 2011.

The panel will release further details of its work through panel communiqués as the review progresses. Register online to have announcements and communiqués sent to you by email.

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Stuff I believe

It was interesting to follow the tweets of @BiancaH80 and @durk94 tonight, as they discussed the school funding data available on the MySchool website.

To be honest, in the interests of keeping myself in a positive and generative work state of mind I’ve avoided looking at the new MySchool site at all (and no, I’m not going to hyperlink to it because I don’t think it deserves the traffic).  Next week I’m going to have to though, so I can talk about it with my students in class.


Even though I now work at a university, which involves striving for curriculum excellence in schools in every sector, I maintain my firm commitment to the social justice agenda of supporting public education.

However, government departments of education tend to be clunky, inefficient, wheel-reinventing institutions.  I know, I used to work in one.  And if I returned to teaching you’d find me back there.

But while funding and resource benchmarks are a large part of the problem, a widespread lack of willingness to consider radically shifting our models of curriculum ‘delivery’ prevents the construction of a meaningful way forward, in my opinion.  The composition of the local student ‘community’ and its relationship to the related local ‘campus’ needs to be significantly rethought.

So I’m posting my tweets for tonight up here, just for the record.  I’d be interested in hearing other people’s visions for the school campus of the future.  Will there still be a distinction between ‘public’ and ‘private’?

I hope not.

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Choice based on what now?

Happy Sunday, teachers!

This day of rest greets us with the most excellent news that Julia Gillard has answered the calls of parents around the nation to identify exactly which schools the poor, low-achieving and, most importantly, Indigenous students are attending, so that we can all avoid these cesspools of failure with confidence rush to enrol our children in these schools.

Gillard is spot on when she denies the information would be used to stigmatise schools.  AS IF!

Even the President of the Australian Education Union Angelo Gavrielatos has argued that the use of NAPLAN data alone does not take into account the rich contribution that schools make to their students’ lives in ways that stretch beyond simple evaluations of literacy and numeracy.

Enter Gillard with the antidote to Gavrielatos’ gripes: publication of “richer” data, i.e. an index of disadvantage.

I mean, there are some really good reasons that parents would want to be able to easily check a one-stop website to see how disadvantaged their local school really is.  For example, parents may want to:

  • increase the chances of their kid getting the Dux award by choosing a school with a low year 12 retention rate
  • make it easier for their kid to become popular by ensuring their backpack is the most expensive one in the playground
  • bolster their kid’s chances of joining a hip Indig. rap group that rails against the ghetto and brings the family muchos street cred via phat beats.

Seriously folks.  This is getting out of hand.

Gillard says that “We have never had a robust index that gives us the ability to look at the level of advantage and disadvantage across all schools.”  So fine – make an index.

Heck, you might even be able to balance out some of the overfunding that is provided to elite private schools that way.

But don’t publish it Jules, for crying out loud!  Stigmatising schools is ALL this information will be used for.

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