ACT students outperform rest of country

GnT 5 December 2007 35

An article in The Canberra Times tells us something we probably already knew, that ACT students have ranked higher than all other states, according to The Program for International Student Assessment which “ranks the performance of 57 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries on science, reading and maths.”

Some other points which I found interesting:
-If you need to leave Canberra, move to WA which ranked a close second.
-In maths the ACT was close to Taiwan, the highest scoring country.
-Girls did better than boys in reading, but boys outperformed girls in maths. (So much for a crisis in boys’ education.)
-Indigenous students and students from remote areas scored significantly lower than the national average (big surprise).
-Australia is ranked in the top 10 countries in all areas, despite public education spending being thrid lowest in the OECD (according to the Australian Education Union).

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35 Responses to ACT students outperform rest of country
nyssa76 nyssa76 6:24 am 07 Dec 07

Mael, I do tell it like it is.

Unfortunately, I am being hog-tied when it comes to saying even the most basic comments. Even the word laxadaiscal is banned.

I hate PC BS. I hate the fact that we cannot use the word ‘grades’ with the lower high school kids and that it’s all about self esteem.

DMD, I know what you mean and agree with you.

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 11:21 pm 06 Dec 07

There is a difference between lowering a child’s self esteem and telling them they’re failing – and it is in the words used. The ‘needs improvement’ is effective language for telling a child he or she needs to lift their game. It’s absolutely ridiculous that you can’t use it. Not only are you effectively bullshitting the parents, you’re also becoming the laughing stock of the children.

When I was at high school and college, that type of language was mostly used in the classes I screwed up and/or didn’t attend. A few times it wasn’t however. To this day I’m still laughing my arse off over ‘performing very well’ with lighting at the Rock Eisteddford – which I didn’t go to.

Mælinar Mælinar 11:07 pm 06 Dec 07

Or develop a reputation for ‘telling it like it is’ so when the reports come out there’s no surprises when you ‘tell it like it is’.

nyssa76 nyssa76 9:52 pm 06 Dec 07

DMD, the board won’t do anything. They are kept in a ‘cone of silence’ (excuse the Get Smart link).

Kids aren’t allowed to be told their failing….that would give them low self esteem….

I so need to be the Minister for Education.

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 9:44 pm 06 Dec 07

That is BS, Nyssa. Have you taken it up with the board or something? Kids do need to be told when they’re failing.

nyssa76 nyssa76 8:47 pm 06 Dec 07

GnT, I know. They were ok for the 4 Govt schools and 1 Non-Govt school I worked in.

However, my new school takes a difference stance and I was ‘counselled’ about my comments. I kid you not.

Then the change to “you can’t say anything negative or that needs improvement” bollocks came in this semester.

It’s total BS.

GnT GnT 8:32 pm 06 Dec 07

Nyssa, that’s rubbish. Those comments are perfectly acceptable in any environment I’ve taught in. In fact, I’m more likely to get a ‘kick up the bum’ for saying they’re fine when they’re really struggling.

All comments, however, have to be backed up by evidence through assessment and not just the personal opinion of the teacher. (For example, you can’t say “He’s lazy” but you can say “He has failed to complete any assessment this term to a satisfactory satndard.”)

caf caf 4:52 pm 06 Dec 07

I always liked Roald Dahl’s take on this:

“School teachers suffer a good deal from having to listen to this sort of twaddle from proud parents, but they usually get their own back when the times comes to write the end-of-term reports. If I were a teacher I would cook up some real scorchers for the children of doting parents. “Your son Maximillian,” I would write, “is a total wash-out. I hope you have a family business you can push him into when he leaves school because he sure as heck won’t get a job anywhere else.” Or if I were feeling lyrical that day, I might write, “It is a curious truth that grasshoppers have their hearing-organs in the sides of the abdomen. You daughter Vanessa, judging by what she’s learnt this term, has no hearing organs at all.” I think I might enjoy writing end-of-term reports for the stinkers in my class.”

VYBerlinaV8 VYBerlinaV8 4:47 pm 06 Dec 07

Instead it should read “Bobby is a lazy sack of crap who is a complete oxygen thief. As his parent(s) you should be bloody ashamed of the piss poor job you have done raising him. Please move back to Tasmania.”

nyssa76 nyssa76 4:31 pm 06 Dec 07

Mr. Evil, jokes aside, you might be right.

VY, believe me, there are some kids who need the correct feedback, but won’t get it.

For example, saying “Bobby has failed to complete any assessment tasks this semester. His work ethic is quite poor. Bobby’s behaviour in a classroom situation identifies a need for self monitoring and possibly a behaviour contract if not rectified.”

Writing anything along those lines is a ‘no, no’.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 2:48 pm 06 Dec 07

Just give all teachers a “Keep Up the Good Work” stamper, to save time when filling out report cards.

VYBerlinaV8 VYBerlinaV8 2:37 pm 06 Dec 07

Wow, it must be hard to articulate what’s going on with students then. If I were a teacher I’d be much more likely to simply write ‘sucks ass’ under some categories.

nyssa76 nyssa76 1:34 pm 06 Dec 07

VY, you know it’s a PC world we live in when I wrote “satisfactory grade” and “poor standard” and was kicked up the bum (this year).

Now we can’t even tell a kid what they need to improve on…

pierce, no offense taken.

pierce pierce 12:39 pm 06 Dec 07

Hey, no offence Nyssa – I was just pointing out all the credit that the Stanhope-haters were giving to the Feds vs the ACT. Obviously teachers are getting the results at the chalkface (whiteboard-face?)

VYBerlinaV8 VYBerlinaV8 11:02 am 06 Dec 07

I once got a report in year 8 that read (paraphrased from memory):

“X is disruptive in class and prevents other students from learning. He rarely applies himself to his work, and shows no interest in the subject matter.
Mark: 97/100
Position in class: 1st of 30”

Even at the tender age of 13, I had to laugh. They had put me in the retard class with the illiterate kids, and wondered why I was bored. I guess that’s NSW public education for you!

GnT GnT 10:03 am 06 Dec 07

“So and so is not performing to his potential and rarely completes work in class. His inconsistent behaviour and poor work ethic is reflected in this disappointing result. He needs to focus on applying concepts to solve problems in order to improve his test scores. I wish him all the best for an improved grade nest year.”

VYBerlinaV8 VYBerlinaV8 9:53 am 06 Dec 07

Nyssa, when you do reports, do you ever get to write “Your kid is a lazy sack of crap with no idea – you are a failure as a parent. ps thanks for the flowers”

nyssa76 nyssa76 9:36 am 06 Dec 07

VY you may be right, and yesterday was a long day for me as reports were due.

But I don’t think that the Territory Government has much to do with the results.

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 2:29 am 06 Dec 07

We dump them all into NSW.

VYBerlinaV8 VYBerlinaV8 8:52 pm 05 Dec 07

Nyssa – I have no doubt you’re a great teacher, but I’d be suprised if the genuine average teacher standard varied much between states.

I think this has a fair bit to do with higher average incomes leading to parents pushing their kids harder than in other states. Canberra, fortunately, seems to have a lower proportion of bogans than other states.

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