Research documents

Save Our Schools Looks at School Funding claims

The claim by the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, that a 50 per cent increase in Federal funding of schools since 2003 failed to improve student achievement is highly misleading in several ways. Read the “Save Our Schools” analysis here.

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study

An ACER Report

TIMSS is an international comparative study of student achievement directed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). TIMSS 2015 represents the sixth such study since TIMSS was first conducted in 1995. Forty-nine education systems tested at Year 4 level and 39 tested at Year 8 level. In Australia, TIMSS is managed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and is jointly funded by the Australian Government and the state and territory governments.

This report is a first look at the results from TIMSS 2015. Focusing on the achievement results in mathematics and science at Year 4 and Year 8, this report will be followed early in 2017 by the full Australian National Report, which will examine achievement more fully and incorporate descriptive and analytical findings using the background and demographic data.

You can access the report on the ACER web site here.

What My School really says about our schools

by Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd

Australia’s schools are very diverse, if only because of where they are and who they serve. Educational diversity is something to value, but we also have a social diversity, in fact a socio-educational hierarchy of schools which is serving some people more than others – and not serving the nation at all well.

The socio-educational gaps between schools are getting wider and deeper, between urban and rural schools and especially between the school sectors, Independent, Catholic and government. The two private sectors and high status public schools are enrolling more of our most advantaged students – and fewer from less advantaged families. There is a noticeable enrolment shift from lower socio-educational advantage (SEA) schools to higher SEA schools.

There are always things which data won’t tell us. Having been school principals we have lived our careers through the decades when great changes were taking place in our framework of schools. We were told about, and believed the importance of the school as a centre of the community and a source of the social and cultural capital that makes communities work. But less than a third of our schools now have an enrolment which resembles the cross-section of people in the school’s local area. Schools and communities are drifting apart. The social diversity which previous generations witnessed within schools is increasingly evident between them. Someone needs to convince us that this is a really good idea.

“School Daze – What My School really says about our schools” is available here.