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How does your school rate?

By rosebud - 28 January 2010 59

I checked out the new My Schools web site to see how the schools in our area are going and compare them to the expensive private schools in the ACT and elsewhere. A bit of a shock! How does your school rate?

What’s Your opinion?


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59 Responses to
How does your school rate?
trevar 5:23 pm 28 Jan 10

Clown Killer said :

Let’s stop tip-toeing around the elephant in the room then. Those NAPLAN results weren’t generated by some faceless bureaucrat – they were generated by little kiddies sitting tests. Little kiddies trying as hard as they could to answer the questions that were asked, to demonstrate the skills that that they had learned. Anyway you mix it up, when the majority of kiddies – trying hard as they might – still get it all arse up then the school as a whole gets dragged into the red.

I think you may be a little overly optimistic. I’ve invigilated plenty of NAPLAN tests, and I’ve been a marker on their predecessors, and I know of plenty of kids who can’t be bothered with these tests. For them, the results are meaningless, because they don’t contribute to their end of semester reports. Plenty of bright kids have this attitude too; the tests test the school, so to make the school look bad, I should do as badly as I can…

My other discomfort in this debate is the number of people who seem to want statistics to give them qualitative information. Statistics aren’t capable of providing qualitative information; that’s why the stats are preceded by a blurb about the school that does provide qualitative information. Of course, most of the blurbs are probably just propaganda, but I still don’t understand why anyone would want a number to measure pastoral care outcomes…

deezagood 5:04 pm 28 Jan 10

The other thing that I note, with interest, is the ‘statistically comparable’ schools; eg. Girl’s Grammar, with their extremely high fees, is (quite favorably) compared to numerous free public schools in other states. It would be interesting to create a spreadsheet factoring both results and costs to determine a ‘value for money’ indicator …

deezagood 5:00 pm 28 Jan 10

Clown Killer said :

Some flashes of colour on an website containing uncontextualised, incomplete information sure is a great way to dictate the education of your children

Let’s stop tip-toeing around the elephant in the room then. Those NAPLAN results weren’t generated by some faceless bureaucrat – they were generated by little kiddies sitting tests. Little kiddies trying as hard as they could to answer the questions that were asked, to demonstrate the skills that that they had learned. Anyway you mix it up, when the majority of kiddies – trying hard as they might – still get it all arse up then the school as a whole gets dragged into the red. Sure, every now and then you’re going to get a school with a high proportion of genuinely dumb-arse kids, but the harsh reality is that where you see the majority of kids in the majority of areas tested scoring substantially below the national average then the only sensible way forward is to start questioning whether the teachers at that school have the wherewithal to deliver the goods.

I’ll happily accept that there are going to be parents out there who are happy for their kids to be a social experiment – to send them off to an underperforming school to learn how to underperform. But what about the parents who have no choice? At least now they have an inkling about what’s going at their kids school – incompetent teachers, principals, education departments and Ministers will have to deal with these people when they come asking for answers. This is a good thing.

I agree with most of what you have stated CK; but, and it’s a big but – I know for a fact that my school did not, in any way form or manner, prep the kids to sit the exam. No practice tests, no teaching to the tests etc… so what we have is a fairly genuine result (and a very good result it was too). I know for a fact that many many schools, especially some Victorian schools, teach to the NAPLAN exams. They practice and practice the sample test itmes over and over, until the kids get it right. The school’s reults are therefore not a genuine indication of overall ability – esecially when compared to the schools who don’t ‘train’ their kids to just be able to answer the test questions. Now that these results are public, you can expect a whole lot more schools to be training their kids to sit the tests – of course you would if you were a principal. So – I view these results with some degree of scepticism, whilst at the same time, being grateful for at least a bit more information about my school choices. The key thing to look for, in my opinion, is how the earlier year results (year 7) compare to the later year’s results (year 9) for the same schools – do the results show that the school is working with brighter kids to start with … or can the school genuinely take some credit for their achievements? It is these statistics that I will use to determine my high school choices – not the overal NAPLAN results.

Clown Killer 4:56 pm 28 Jan 10

Do they account for differences in socio-economic or cultural demographic at the school?

I’m guessing that they are at least having a go at addressing that. From the My School website:

The Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) is a special measure that enables meaningful and fair comparisons to be made across schools. The variables that make up ICSEA include socio-economic characteristics of the small areas where students live (in this case an ABS census collection district), as well as whether a school is in a regional or remote area, and the proportion of Indigenous students enrolled at the school. It has been developed specifically for the My School website for the purpose of identifying schools serving similar student populations. The average ICSEA value is 1000. Most schools have an ICSEA score between 900 and 1100.

emd 4:27 pm 28 Jan 10

Do they account for differences in socio-economic or cultural demographic at the school? Do they account for schools having a G&T program or learning support program that might attract students from extreme ends of the scale? Particularly in smaller schools, these things can impact on results. Some private schools require applicants to sit an exam before they’re let in, to weed out kids who might bring the average down. Other schools just discourage students with learning difficulties from attending – keep up or get out.

These stats don’t tell me about the school’s policy on homework or bullying, or what they do to ensure students are given support to learn at their own pace (which might be faster or slower than average).

Someone has to be in the top 10% or bottom 10%. What matters is whether the majority of kids are learning the basics they need.

Clown Killer 4:20 pm 28 Jan 10

Some flashes of colour on an website containing uncontextualised, incomplete information sure is a great way to dictate the education of your children

Let’s stop tip-toeing around the elephant in the room then. Those NAPLAN results weren’t generated by some faceless bureaucrat – they were generated by little kiddies sitting tests. Little kiddies trying as hard as they could to answer the questions that were asked, to demonstrate the skills that that they had learned. Anyway you mix it up, when the majority of kiddies – trying hard as they might – still get it all arse up then the school as a whole gets dragged into the red. Sure, every now and then you’re going to get a school with a high proportion of genuinely dumb-arse kids, but the harsh reality is that where you see the majority of kids in the majority of areas tested scoring substantially below the national average then the only sensible way forward is to start questioning whether the teachers at that school have the wherewithal to deliver the goods.

I’ll happily accept that there are going to be parents out there who are happy for their kids to be a social experiment – to send them off to an underperforming school to learn how to underperform. But what about the parents who have no choice? At least now they have an inkling about what’s going at their kids school – incompetent teachers, principals, education departments and Ministers will have to deal with these people when they come asking for answers. This is a good thing.

JessP 4:15 pm 28 Jan 10

Well, my kids school didn’t do so good. But he is doing good. Whatever.

hellspice 4:12 pm 28 Jan 10

my primary and high schools were so bad they tore them down 🙁

Kanberran 4:08 pm 28 Jan 10

Apparently, my son is in one of the better performing govt schools according to the website. That said, people need to not place too much emphasis on these stats and must realise that a child’s success at school has way more to do with what happens at home than at school. It sickens me to hear some of my friends that spend their life savings to send their kids to private school and somehow find that it justifies them not having to do as much work on their kids at home!! And they are proud of themselves too! Tell you what, it’s no use coming from a school rated with all greens when your kid is actually at the bottom of that pile!

misspris 3:27 pm 28 Jan 10

Why’d they bother to include the colleges if there’s no data?

Also, I’m just about to move my youngest daughter from a private school to a local public high school (which we were pretty impressed with at interview) but their results weren’t all that flash. Hopefully I’m not reading too much into the results 🙁

Jim Jones 3:26 pm 28 Jan 10

Some flashes of colour on an website containing uncontextualised, incomplete information sure is a great way to dictate the education of your children.

Remember when people actually visited schools and talked to local parents as a means of determining the appropriate school for their children?

grunge_hippy 3:04 pm 28 Jan 10

yes because the results of one test is a good indicator of overall achievement of a school…

Clown Killer 2:17 pm 28 Jan 10

The limitations of the comparison aside my decision to choose a private education for my kids instead of sending them to the Government primary school in our suburb appears to have been a prudent one – our local school comes up as an ocean of crimson.

s-s-a 2:17 pm 28 Jan 10

Quite well, though I know it is only an indicator.

It took me, ooh about fifteen minutes to compile and graph league tables for primary schools in Weston Creek.

Hank 1:59 pm 28 Jan 10

hummmm St Edmunds didn’t do so well.

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