Our attitude to data visibility is changing, yet reporting on tests is still a priority.
Two articles in this edition — on the MySchool website and Year 12 results in the ACT — show that uses of educational data are evolving and maturing. Sitting alongside that is much commentary and analysis of PISA, TALIS and ATAR results. We have more data than we know what to meaningfully do with.
Forget the measurement hype for a moment, and make sure you check out the stories of learners and teachers, including the NowThis video of amazing things teachers have done for their students over the past 12 months.
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Stories of Learners & Teachers
Check out beautiful examples from 2019 of teachers across the globe caring for their students. (NowThis)
Stories of school leavers:
Age is no limit for learning. Meet Georgina Brown and other students sitting the 2019 VCE, aged over 50. (The Age)
In September 2019, 17 year-old Gosford High School student Varsha Yajman was berated by the Prime Minister for skipping school to help organise the Sydney School Strike 4 Climate. Proving that the days off did not jeopardise her education, months later, Yajman finished school with an ATAR of 99.15. (SMH)
Due to a funding dispute between the state and federal governments, St Paul’s College a school for students with complex disabilities and care needs is set to “lose nearly $500,000 in funding for support staff.” (ABC)
Education Policy & Politics
State, territory and federal education leaders have re-committed to Australia’s goals for education under the new Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Declaration. (Education Council)
On data visibility:
Parent focus groups about the MySchool website have called for the website to be simplified. One parent explained, “I feel like I’m doing the test. It’s hard to work out exactly what I’m looking at”. (The Age)
The ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies has stopped publicly releasing school-by-school results based on students’ ATARs. (Canberra Times)
Results from the 2018 round of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) are out.
The official report on Australia’s results from Sue Thomson, Lisa De Bortoli, Catherine Underwood and Marina Schmid. (ACER)
Meanwhile, from a group of academics worldwide who are calling for a stop to the next round of testing: “No reform of any consequence should be based on a single narrow measure of quality”. (The Guardian)
The Australian report of the 2018 Teaching and Learning International Survey presents findings on the learning environment and the working conditions of 6603 teachers and 453 principals in schools. (ACER)
Education Around the World
England: A close look at the English PISA results from Sam Freedman, with considerations for other nations. (Twitter)
Finland: A government initiative is teaching students and other Finns how to spot fake news. (CNN)