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Enrollment fraud, is it more chicken or the egg?

By Joanne1987 - 11 September 2014 30

Last week I saw an article in the CT about parents lying about their place of residence to get their kids into elite target public schools in the ACT. It generated a lot of discussion but got me thinking about the flip-side to this debate, principals who pick and choose kids from out of area. What influences their decision making, merit of need? For instance a family friend of ours told us a few years back their child got into an out-of-area and at-capacity elite target primary school because she told the principal her daughter had a reading several age years above the national average. Conversely I was also told by a teacher friend, and I concede it is only a rumour, she was in a staff meeting where the Principal of a substantially under capacity high school told his staff he was resisting accepting out of area kids with disabilities because he didn’t want his school to be seen as “that type of school”.

We place a lot of trust in school principals but should they be in charge of picking and choosing which students they top their schools up with, particularly in an age where NAPLAN and MySchool are being used as key markers of a school and it’s principal’s performance?

What’s Your opinion?


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30 Responses to
Enrollment fraud, is it more chicken or the egg?
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 10:15 am 12 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

The NAPLAN results were promptly torn up and tossed out the window on Athllon Drive – they didn’t even deserve to be recycled.

So your response to results you didn’t like was to tear up the paper and throw them onto the road, presumably while driving.

Did your daughter see you do this? What sort of example do you think this behaviour sets?

CollegeTeacher 9:17 am 12 Sep 14

HenryBG said :

The alternative is to provide parents with no information at all, thus eliminating their ability to exercise an informed choice.

Well I suppose that’s where we differ, because I don’t see how ‘an informed choice’ would ever lead to a better system. The OECD has also found that school ‘choice’ leads to no improvements whatsoever and in fact leads to greater segregation, entrenching of privilege and more inequity that leads to worse outcomes for the system as a whole. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/download/5k9fq23507vc.pdf?expires=1410477822&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=D2163D4D63C9B4A477060C944D3D61F4

housebound 6:26 am 12 Sep 14

NAPLAN is just a series of tests. If your year 3 daughter didn’t do well, then she either isn’t cognitively ready for exams (kids develop at different rates), or you have learned that she might need help with exam strategies in the future. But Year 3 is far too young for that sort of thing anyway.

NAPLAN fraud, letters home etc are well documented. If I can find an online published source, I’ll post it here. It was pretty rampant in the years immediately after ACT school closures because Barr used ACTAP results (the precursor to NAPLAN and designed for resource allocation) in his selection of schools for closure, without regard to the starting points of the kids going into the schools. It meant that schools were suddenly very concerned about how they looked on paper. If you keep an eye on the media, NAPLAN fraud tends to be not too far away from mass school closures.

milkman 6:06 am 12 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

I disagree. We received NAPLAN results for our Year 3 daughter last week. She is very intelligent (both of her brothers are mentally disabled) and she is among the top students in her class. According to her teachers she is brighter than many children of her age and grade – and as her father I am biased here anyway. The results came back showing she was significantly below the national average in every single category. The NAPLAN results were promptly torn up and tossed out the window on Athllon Drive – they didn’t even deserve to be recycled.

I put it to you that NAPLAN tests tell you one thing only: how good a student is at doing NAPLAN tests in high-pressure situations that primary school students should not be subjected to.

Would it not be worthwhile talking with your daughter about how she found the tests, were they hard, etc? I also have a year 3 child who’s results came home last week.

We figured it was a good opportunity to talk to our son about tests, what they meant, how to approach them, etc. After a chat and some questions he was quite happy about attempting the tests, and scored very well.

I am not suggesting your daughter is not smart, or that NAPLAN is some magical oracle about our kids’ learning, but instead of ripping the paper up and littering the road, would it not be prudent to keep the results and compare them to next time to look for changes, or perhaps talk to the school about it?

dungfungus 10:31 pm 11 Sep 14

justin heywood said :

HenryBG said :

Where NAPLAN results become completely meaningless, however, is where a school engages in NAPLAN fraud by sending notes home with a subset of students encouraging them to take the day off, come NAPLAN day.
.

Schools have been “sending notes home to students encouraging them to take the [NAPLAN} day off” ?

Really? That would be incredibly foolish thing to do. Surely such a note would be political gold in the right hands.

Can you link to that Henry?

I can hear the computers whirring already.

2604 10:21 pm 11 Sep 14

CollegeTeacher said :

Of course it happens but what do you expect principals to do in a neo-liberal, market-based environment?

Uh, the job they are paid $130,000+ per annum to do? You know…making sure that children are taught to read and write properly?

Here are two suggestions for you and all your colleagues who think that the only way to improve test results is to doctor them or focus on admitting academically gifted children to your school:
1. Stop devoting scarce classroom time to teaching children about sustainability and the wonders of indigenous culture and how to support their gay friends.
2. Devote more classroom time to things that employers (and society as a whole, other than Twitter) actually care about, like proper reading and writing skills and understanding how our political system and economy work.

Any school principal who focuses on getting the basics right will inevitably see improved NAPLAN results and higher enrolments.

HenryBG 10:01 pm 11 Sep 14

justin heywood said :

HenryBG said :

Where NAPLAN results become completely meaningless, however, is where a school engages in NAPLAN fraud by sending notes home with a subset of students encouraging them to take the day off, come NAPLAN day.
.

Schools have been “sending notes home to students encouraging them to take the [NAPLAN} day off” ?

Really? That would be incredibly foolish thing to do. Surely such a note would be political gold in the right hands.

Can you link to that Henry?

There are a couple of Riot Act regulars who would have seen the notes I am referring to. Perhaps they can confirm…?

HenryBG 10:00 pm 11 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

I disagree. We received NAPLAN results for our Year 3 daughter last week. She is very intelligent (both of her brothers are mentally disabled) and she is among the top students in her class. According to her teachers she is brighter than many children of her age and grade – and as her father I am biased here anyway. The results came back showing she was significantly below the national average in every single category. The NAPLAN results were promptly torn up and tossed out the window on Athllon Drive – they didn’t even deserve to be recycled.

I put it to you that NAPLAN tests tell you one thing only: how good a student is at doing NAPLAN tests in high-pressure situations that primary school students should not be subjected to.

Yes, yes. Everybody’s child is a genius. A genius who can’t answer simple multiple choice questions correctly.

justin heywood 6:14 pm 11 Sep 14

HenryBG said :

Where NAPLAN results become completely meaningless, however, is where a school engages in NAPLAN fraud by sending notes home with a subset of students encouraging them to take the day off, come NAPLAN day.
.

Schools have been “sending notes home to students encouraging them to take the [NAPLAN} day off” ?

Really? That would be incredibly foolish thing to do. Surely such a note would be political gold in the right hands.

Can you link to that Henry?

Antagonist 5:18 pm 11 Sep 14

HenryBG said :

CollegeTeacher said :

HenryBG
No, NAPLAN and MySchool are NOT great ways to see if a school is achieving academic outcomes. Now I will acknowledge that the NAPLAN results can provide valuable diagnostic data to schools but MySchool is what corrupts it.
The 2 stated aims of NAPLAN, school improvement and public accountability, are irreconcilable because of just the reasons you have identified. As soon as you make it ‘high-stakes’, and you do by having MySchool, you are open to teaching to the test, cheating and strategic scratchings. NONE of this helps students academically and destroys school improvement.

NAPLAN reveals exactly how schools are doing, academically.
The alternative is to provide parents with no information at all, thus eliminating their ability to exercise an informed choice.

I disagree. We received NAPLAN results for our Year 3 daughter last week. She is very intelligent (both of her brothers are mentally disabled) and she is among the top students in her class. According to her teachers she is brighter than many children of her age and grade – and as her father I am biased here anyway. The results came back showing she was significantly below the national average in every single category. The NAPLAN results were promptly torn up and tossed out the window on Athllon Drive – they didn’t even deserve to be recycled.

I put it to you that NAPLAN tests tell you one thing only: how good a student is at doing NAPLAN tests in high-pressure situations that primary school students should not be subjected to.

John Moulis 4:26 pm 11 Sep 14

Enrollment – US spelling
Enrolment – UK/Australian spelling

HenryBG 3:06 pm 11 Sep 14

CollegeTeacher said :

HenryBG
No, NAPLAN and MySchool are NOT great ways to see if a school is achieving academic outcomes. Now I will acknowledge that the NAPLAN results can provide valuable diagnostic data to schools but MySchool is what corrupts it.
The 2 stated aims of NAPLAN, school improvement and public accountability, are irreconcilable because of just the reasons you have identified. As soon as you make it ‘high-stakes’, and you do by having MySchool, you are open to teaching to the test, cheating and strategic scratchings. NONE of this helps students academically and destroys school improvement.

NAPLAN reveals exactly how schools are doing, academically.
The alternative is to provide parents with no information at all, thus eliminating their ability to exercise an informed choice.

Strategic scratchings show up in the participation rate.

The vast majority of schools are honest.

I agree that MySchool corrupts it: modifying the results based on irrelevant socio-economic data serves only to mislead parents and reduce their ability to make informed choices.

CollegeTeacher 2:39 pm 11 Sep 14

HenryBG
No, NAPLAN and MySchool are NOT great ways to see if a school is achieving academic outcomes. Now I will acknowledge that the NAPLAN results can provide valuable diagnostic data to schools but MySchool is what corrupts it.
The 2 stated aims of NAPLAN, school improvement and public accountability, are irreconcilable because of just the reasons you have identified. As soon as you make it ‘high-stakes’, and you do by having MySchool, you are open to teaching to the test, cheating and strategic scratchings. NONE of this helps students academically and destroys school improvement.

CollegeTeacher 2:28 pm 11 Sep 14

Of course it happens but what do you expect principals to do in a neo-liberal, market-based environment? School ‘choice’ works both ways which means the schools are also selecting the students/parents.
If principals are trying to do the best for their school they will want it to look good because that, and that alone, will lead to future success in a competitive environment. As we are currently judging schools on the very narrow measures of basic literacy and numeracy skills in NAPLAN, of course students with high skills will be snapped up.
What you seem to be advocating is a community/systemic approach that we unfortunately abandoned long ago under the belief that competition always leads to improvements.

HenryBG 10:24 am 11 Sep 14

NAPLAN and MySchool is a great way to see whether a school is achieving academic outcomes.

There are many reasons any particular school might be academically substandard, some of them for reasons the school can do nothing about, but it isn’t any individual parent’s job to be participating in social engineering when choosing where to enrol their child – every parent should want the best for their child, and should be making decisions accordingly.

Where NAPLAN results become completely meaningless, however, is where a school engages in NAPLAN fraud by sending notes home with a subset of students encouraging them to take the day off, come NAPLAN day.
The dead giveaway for NAPLAN fraud is an anomalously low participation rate. If there is something far, far worse than an academically-challenged school, it is a school that both struggles academically AND is run on the basis of lies and dishonesty.
Academic success, while important, isn’t the sole measure of educational success, but an academically-challenged school run by dishonest people who think it appropriate to rope children into their fraudulent practices to cover up their educational incompetence will undoubtedly have severe impacts on a child’s subsequent integration to society.

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