New, simplified My School website dumps school comparisons
The new page chart the change in the school’s average score over two years compared with the average score of all students who have the same starting score and a similar socio-educational background.
ACARA chief executive David de Carvalho described the new design as fairer and more helpful, as it focused on how much each school helped students improve.
“Comparing the progress of a school’s students against other students nationally with both the same score on their previous NAPLAN and similar background, makes clearer the impact the school has had,” he said.
The bands page, which allowed parents to compare school results to minimum standards, has been scrapped. But Mr de Cavalho said ACARA was looking at bringing in a proficiency standard to replace them.
“We only have a national minimum standard,” he said. “There’s been concern for some time that that national minimum standard needs augmenting with slightly higher standard, a proficiency standard, which is more challenging.
“[This will give] a better indication of how students are travelling compared with a more challenging standards. We are going about the task of doing some further research into what such standards might look like.”
Peter Goss, the head of the school education program at the Grattan Institute, a think tank, said the changes increased the value of My School to parents, and made it easier to use.
“Schools can’t be responsible for what their kids know the first day they walk in through the school gates, they can only be responsible for how far they take those kids in their learning journey,” he said.
“That’s best measured with student progress not achievement, and student progress now has pride of place when parents go onto the My School website to understand NAPLAN results.”
Waitara Public School is one of the schools that has shown high progress in numeracy and writing. Principal Dany Coelho said the school had high expectations of its students, and its teachers worked hard to differentiate the curriculum for students with different needs.
“We know kids are capable and we need to challenge them,” she said.
Jordan Baker is Education Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald