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QUEENSLAND INDEPENDENT EDUCATION UNION INDEPENDENT EDUCATION UNION OF AUSTRALIA – QUEENSLAND & NORTHERN TERRITORY BRANCH BRISBANE 346 TURBOT ST SPRING HILL QLD 4000 PO BOX 418 FORTITUDE VALLEY

Phone: 07 3839 7020 Fax: 07 3839 7021 Freecall: 1800 177937 Email: enquiries@qieu.asn.au Internet: www.qieu.asn.au ABN: 45 620 218 712

Thursday, 15 April 2010

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MySchool Campaign

CHAPTER BRIEFING No. 1 NAPLAN Test Data Inappropriately Used on MySchool Union Calls for MySchool Overhaul Dear Colleagues The federal government’s MySchool website claims to give Australian parents an assessment of individual schools based on the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. This is a flagrant misuse of the NAPLAN data. NAPLAN results are a point in time view of the literacy and numeracy skills of students. The proper use of NAPLAN data on the MySchool website must be addressed by the federal government. Our union is campaigning for changes to the MySchool website. However, the IEUA-QNT is not calling for a ban on NAPLAN supervision in non-government schools. Background

NAPLAN tests are structured to be used to ascertain individual student’s achievements at a particular point in time. They are not an appropriate means of describing or identifying the character of a school. NAPLAN tests are a good tool for teachers to use to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their students and to guide the revision of their work programmes or lesson plans to support student learning. The IEUA-QNT supports this use; however there are concerns that the data in the form it is on the MySchool website is unreliable and being misused. The MySchool website claims to compare schools but this is a clear abuse of the data. The validity of the process of identifying “like schools” (the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage or ICSEA) is obviously called into question due to the number of nonsensical groupings of schools on the MySchool website. The current ‘average score’ is presented without simple or easy reference to relative distribution, difference or national benchmarks, and thus sheds little useful insight into relative achievement on NAPLAN test results. The use of ‘average scores’ most readily facilitates the creation of simplistic


league tables which do not represent the full offering and effectiveness of individual schools. The current “Statistically Similar Schools” grouping is unhelpful at best and misleading at worst. The current NAPLAN test data cannot accurately identify the quality of teaching and learning that occurs in schools. The data in its current form does not provide parents and the community with the accurate information the federal government claims they want. Problems to be rectified The IEUA-QNT supports the collection and publication of student data through national and international tests. However, significant changes need to be made to the MySchool website and the processes it relies upon to present a more accurate assessment of the effectiveness of schools. A formal review of the MySchool website needs to be undertaken as a matter of urgency. This review must address the proper use of NAPLAN data on the MySchool website by calling for: 

a thorough re-evaluation of the use of the ICSEA as a means of identifying “like schools”; including using the ICSEA only as a way of comparing schools rather than a schools ‘sorting’ mechanism as is currently the case;

the reporting of students’ average scores to be replaced with a graph or an overall percentage achievement above minimum benchmarks; and

schools with fewer than 15 students in the NAPLAN cohort not having student data reported in any comparative measures.

Chapter Action Our union supports NAPLAN tests and has determined not to participate in the boycott proposed by the Australian Education Union. The IEUA-QNT considers the NAPLAN tests and the MySchool website as separate issues and the focus needs to be placed on the misuse of NAPLAN data on the My School website. Chapters are requested to consider the attached fax back resolution calling on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, to address the deficiencies in the MySchool website. The onus is on the federal government to properly acknowledge the nature of NAPLAN data as an assessment of a particular cohort of students at a particular point in time. The data is not an assessment of ‘the school’.

Kind regards

TERRY BURKE SECRETARY


QUEENSLAND INDEPENDENT EDUCATION UNION INDEPENDENT EDUCATION UNION OF AUSTRALIA – QUEENSLAND & NORTHERN TERRITORY BRANCH

MYSCHOOL CAMPAIGN CHAPTER FAXBACK

FAX BACK The Chapter at __________________________________________calls upon the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education Julia Gillard to acknowledge the shortcomings of the current MySchool website and immediately take action to:  undertake a formal review of the MySchool website including an examination of the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA);  guarantee the ICSEA is only used as a point of comparison rather than a schools ‘sorting’ mechanism as is currently the case;  remove nonsensical groupings of “like” schools from the MySchool website;  replace the reporting of students’ average scores with a graph or a percentage achievement to represent relative performance; and  ensure that schools with less than 15 students in the NAPLAN cohort do not have student data reported in any comparative measures. CARRIED/NOT CARRIED

PLEASE FAX BACK TO JULIA GILLARD DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER & MINISTER FOR EDUCATION ON FAX NUMBER (02) 6273 4115 BY TUESDAY, 27 APRIL 2010


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