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Greens demand more information in publication of school results

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says more information – including figures on the funding schools receive – must be included in the publication of school testing results to ensure that simplistic ‘league tables’ cannot be created to disadvantage some schools.

The Federal Government has pushed ahead with plans to publish every school’s literacy and numeracy results online, without information on school funding to contextualise the results, as was promised by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

“The Greens are concerned that, without enforceable protocols under which school results can be published, simplistic league tables will be produced,” said Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for Education.

“Since the Government has disclosed the principles and protocols for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s publication of national school data, one principle has been revealed stating that the community should be able to access the context in which the schools perform, including the funding they receive.

“These protocols and principles must be formalised as a legislative instrument so that they can be enforced, and the public can access information about schools in the proper context.

“Yesterday I moved a motion in the Senate calling on the Government to ensure that this happened, but the Government refused to support it.

“The Greens want parents, teachers and governments to have more information, not less, to be able to make decisions about their children’s schooling – and that information must be presented meaningfully.”

Senator Hanson-Young said the Greens also wanted to see the testing and reporting regime reviewed for its impact on resourcing, the teaching workforce and educational outcomes after two years.

“The collection of this information on schools should only be used to improve educational outcomes,” she said.

“Low performing schools must not be penalised as a result of the publication of simplistic league tables, through falling enrolments and a consequent decrease in resourcing.

“The Greens want the schools testing and reporting regime to be comprehensively reviewed after its first two years to ensure that it is leading to positive educational outcomes for all schools.

“I will be pursuing this matter further with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations during Supplementary Budget Estimates in October.”

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