Clover Moore MP against transparency of school national test results

August 9, 2009

One of the positive moves in increasing the transparency of the performance of schools in the last few years, for parents and the community, has been the move to publish the results of national literacy and numeracy tests of primary and secondary school students. The first element of this was to have single national tests as opposed to the previous state-based tests, allowing a more direct comparison of results between states, and the second (and probably more important) move is to publish the results of the national tests in some way. (Disclosure – I worked for a consultant constructing numeracy questions for the initial round of the national testing.)

Legislation has recently passed through the NSW Parliament allowing the publication of results in some way. While there has been some kerfuffle with an Greens/Opposition amendment to the legislation, the core idea that there should be more transparency appears to be widely supported.

It may be thought that transparency about school performance may allow parents more information to choose a school for their kids to attend, and allow parents to put pressure on low-performing schools to perform better. It may also be that publishing this information may lead to be self-discipline on schools to improve their performance. While the winds of transparency may be bracing, it is better that parents have information about school performance if this results in kids having a better education.

The key point is that kids should have the best education possible and it appears deleterious to kids for the test results to be opaque.

However, Clover Moore MP, the member for Sydney, spoke against the legislation when it came before the NSW Parliament, on the oft-mentioned principles that: Read the rest of this entry »