ACARA, Parents, Teachers Condemn League Tables

The Canberra Times is facing a backlash over its publication of a crude 'league table of advantage and disadvantage'.

Write a letter to the editor of The Canberra Times to tell him it's time to stop publishing crude league tables. The ACT Council of P&Cs has some useful hints on what you can include in your letter.

ACARA condemns The Canberra Times

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, the body that produces the MySchool website, states it "opposes the use of simplistic league tables, which result in unfair comparisons between schools".

The MySchool parent information line advises:

"We don't endorse that at all," the help-line attendant told me. "We use lots of methods and calculations to make valid comparisons only between schools where the kids have similar backgrounds."

"It's not fair, comparing schools with different backgrounds," he told me. "It just isn't fair."

Parents condemn The Canberra Times

The ACT Council of P&Cs states:

"So, if you are looking to compare your school with others this year, don't seek out a league table from the media – the picture will not be clear at all. The My School website does a better job, but ultimately it is worth considering why we, as parents, feel the need to compare schools, when the measure which counts most is right before us: our own child's progress, from wherever it is they started."

Teachers condemn The Canberra Times

The Canberra Times quoted AEU ACT Branch Secretary, Glenn Fowler, criticising them as follows.

Mr Fowler said: "The Canberra Times' decision to again present student learning in terms of a sporting competition is disappointing. It is an unintelligent and inappropriate way to depict young people's learning.

"Parents deserve much better than this. They have a right to information about how schools are really performing.

"Attention-grabbing headlines and reductive graphics that pay no heed to the background students come from, the value schools add or the limits of the assessment instrument concerned, obscure the reality."

Mr Fowler said he withdrew his own children from NAPLAN testing because of his deep philosophical opposition to the way in which the newspaper used the data.

"Educators are happy to be accountable for the job we do but we won't accept young children being humiliated in the process," he said.

"The league table approach involves labelling children as young as eight in the 'losers' category at the bottom of the ladder. Every year it delivers a demoralising blow to our most disadvantaged school communities.

"To make its league table, The Canberra Times uses results from a test that doesn't even purport to measure some of the highest goals of education.

"The NAPLAN tests don't measure critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical and intercultural understanding or even students' ability to use IT. Nothing about the league table approach acknowledges the narrow nature of this single measure," Mr Fowler said.

Read more

How Good is My School?, ACT Council of Parents & Citizen's Associations

Parents condemn Canberra Times' League Tables

A league of league table opponents attack comparison of My School results

League tables do not help our kids



Log in to update your membership details and access member­only news and information