Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1538      7 March 2012

SMH publishes school “League Tables”

On February 27 the Sydney Morning Herald published its “ranking” of all schools throughout NSW. It is a “League Table” and a deliberate spit in the eye to the government, the Australian Education Union and the NSW Teachers’ Federation, all of whom thought a “gentlemen’s agreement” was in place not to publish them.

In 2009, then Education Minister, Julia Gillard argued: “The...government is not interested in simplistic league tables, which rank schools according to raw test scores. For instance, schools will not be ranked according to NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) results.”

The Herald’s “rankings” are based on NAPLAN test results, they are simplistic and misleading, and do nothing to improve the level of educational provision. Similar test-and-publish pressure was applied in New York and led to widespread cheating and corruption throughout the whole school system.

The data for the tables was supplied by the government’s My School” website, and NAPLAN results are a major part of it. Publication was delayed while the website was updated, but within a week of its reappearance the Herald moved to publish, seeking to put a spike in its circulation.

When the issue of My School data being used for League Tables first arose in 2009, the Teachers’ Federation vowed to ban NAPLAN testing, and only lifted it on the basis of the “goodwill” statement made by Julia Gillard. Now the ball is firmly in the court of the Teachers’ Federation – whether or not action is taken will be revealed next week.  

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