St Luke’s Anglican School principal Martin Oates shows students the new My School website.
St Luke’s Anglican School principal Martin Oates shows students the new My School website. Max Fleet

Schools wary about My School

BUNDABERG schools are warning parents not to put too much weight into the information available from the My School website when choosing a school for their children.

The website, launched by the federal government at 1am yesterday, shows the average scores of every school in the country in the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests for 2008 and 2009, as well as a brief outline of enrolment statistics and economic background of the children at the school.

St Luke’s Anglican School fared better than most of its Bundaberg counterparts, slating scores above average or average in every year level which takes the test except for Year 3 when compared to all Australian schools.

Students take the NAPLAN test in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Despite its success, St Luke’s principal Martin Oates urged parents to be cautious when picking a school.

“There is a lot more to education than just a test. NAPLAN is just a snapshot of a year group,” Mr Oates said.

He said the website had some obvious flaws.

“Until the search engine can be improved it will be very hard to compare schools. It is not the easiest spreadsheet to use,” he said.

St John’s Lutheran Primary School principal Janelle Turner agreed parents should consider more than the information provided on the website.

“They are results from one test done on one day. We use the results but use them as one of the measures to inform our curriculum needs and professional development,” she said.

St John’s NAPLAN scores were average or below average when compared to the rest of schools in Australia.

“I think it is out there and parents can have a look at it,” she said.

“However, they should not just judge on these results but find out the bigger picture of what is happening at the school.”

Shalom College was the best performing Catholic school in the region posting above average scores across the board.

However, the Bundaberg Catholic primary schools did not fare as well, receiving mostly below average scores in the NAPLAN test.

“While the information available on the My School website can be useful, the achievements and efforts of students in any school community need to be considered in many other ways than this statistical data portrays,” Diocesan Director of Catholic Education Leesa Jeffcoat said.

Bundaberg Christian College fared poorly, posting mostly below average scores — except for the Year 7 class which gained average or above average scores.

The Bundaberg Christian College was unavailable for comment yesterday.

It was a mixed bag for Bundaberg’s state schools — however a majority of the test scores were below the national average.

Queensland Teachers’ Union Bundaberg representative Allan Cook said while the website did not actually rank schools in a league table, it would not take much effort for somebody to jot down the details of 10 schools and put them in order.

He said he also had big doubts over how the website classed some schools as statistically similar.

“I don’t see how they can class the Chinchilla State High School as similar to one in Maroochydore, and both of them as similar to a Lutheran school in Victoria,” he said.

Parents can find out more by logging on to the My School website at www.myschool.edu.au.



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