Teachers oppose website
TEACHERS in the Bundaberg district are standing firm in their opposition to the release of data comparing schools on a government website today.
But Education Minister Julia Gillard is just as adamant the release of the information on the My School website will go ahead.
Ms Gillard claims the website will give parents the information they need to make decisions about their children’s education.
For the first time the website will publish the results of literacy and numeracy tests carried out last year for every school – public and private – in Australia.
The website will include the average scores for the tests conducted on Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 pupils.
Each school will be grouped with 60 statistically similar schools across Australia, and up to 20 schools in the same area.
But Queensland Teachers’ Union Bundaberg representative Allan Cook said teachers were concerned the information would be used to make up league tables ranking the schools, with schools at the bottom of the tables being unfairly stigmatised.
“We have no objection to an accountability and transparency agenda involving testing, but what we will continue to advocate for is some way to stop a ranking system,” he said.
“Research from Britain and the US is quite strong that such a competitive regime is not working.”
Mr Cook said when the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy was introduced two years ago, children in Queensland were starting school a year later than their counterparts in other states.
“The Year 3 kids who were tested at that time had been exposed to 12 months less schooling than other kids,” he said.
Mr Cook said international research should suggest to the government the website might not deliver the outcomes it wanted, and could cause irreparable damage along the way.
He said the union would continue a dialogue with Ms Gillard.
A decision would be made in April over whether teachers would be involved in administering the tests.
At the start of the school year yesterday, Premier Anna Bligh said the introduction of the prep year two years ago meant Year 3 students would for the first time in half a century have the same age and years of schooling as their counterparts in other states.
The government website is at www.myschool.edu.au.