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Non-cognitive skills like perseverance and hard work might be more accurate predictors of success than literacy and numeracy quizzes. Shutterstock

School should be about more than just measuring intelligence

Who do you think would do better at school or in the workplace: someone who is smart, but lazy, or someone who is not naturally brilliant but will keep working at a problem until they get it right? Intuitively…
Offering cash incentives for school performance seems like a good idea, but there are a lot of unwanted consequences. Shutterstock

Why cash incentives aren’t a good idea in education

If there is one iron law of economics it is this: people respond to incentives. Offer an “all you can eat” buffet and people eat a lot. Double the demerit points for speeding on a holiday weekend and fewer…
NAPLAN testing can’t be all bad if the government is still committed to it, can it? Shutterstock

Criticise if you must, the NAPLAN tests are valuable for teachers

Since NAPLAN, the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy began in 2008, everyone and their dog has criticised the process. Detractors say teachers are forced to teach to the test, it pits…
Leader of the pack: Djalu Gurruwiwi of the Galpu clan leads younger performers at the 2013 Garma Festival in Arnhem Land. AAP Image/Youthu Yindi Foundation

Listen to your elders: inviting Aboriginal parents back to school

Tony Abbott is spending this week in North East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…
Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion with students in the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory. Research shows acting on overcrowded housing could greatly improve Indigenous kids' school attendance in remote communities. AAP/Neda Vanovac

How crowded homes can lead to empty schools in the bush

Tony Abbott is spending this week in North East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…
NAPLAN results do have their uses, but they are often overstated and they certainly don’t paint a picture of a child’s overall success at school. AAP

NAPLAN results don’t tell us the whole story

Results are out for NAPLAN 2014, and already the discussions have started around the meaning of those results. The program remains controversial, with academics and the public debating its impact on students…
School is the place where questioning the status quo should take place - but not in a high-stakes test. AAP

Testing democracy: NAPLAN produces culture of compliance

There has been widespread and well-justified critique of the NAPLAN tests in Australian schools. Concerns have focused on the ways the testing severely narrows the school curriculum, compounds disadvantage…
Is NAPLAN worthwhile? Or is it just putting pressure on our kids for no good reason? AAP

NAPLAN testing does more harm than good

New research raises questions about the impacts of the National Assessment Program – Literacy And Numeracy (NAPLAN) on the wellbeing of students and on positive teaching and learning approaches. NAPLAN…
Paper and pencil NAPLAN testing will go online in 2016, but will schools be ready? bibiphoto / Shutterstock.com

NAPLAN online: will Australian schools and students be ready?

The Australian Government plans to conduct the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) online from 2016. This presents a significant challenge for Australia’s 9,500 schools. Conducting…
Years of schooling separate the rich kids from the poor kids. www.shutterstock.com.au

Why poor kids continue to do poorly in the education game

The Conversation is running a series, Class in Australia, to identify, illuminate and debate its many manifestations. Here, Stewart Riddle outlines the correlation between low socioeconomic backgrounds…
Simply standing in front of a class and telling children how we are used to doing things ‘just won’t work’, according to leading American education expert Linda Darling-Hammond. AAP/Dan Peled

In Conversation: Maxine McKew and Linda Darling-Hammond

Watch the video of Maxine McKew interviewing Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond below. Australian schoolkids are scoring higher than their US counterparts in maths, science and literacy, but a visiting…
How do NAPLAN tests compare? Test image from www.shutterstock.com

NAPLAN doesn’t stand up to international tests

A new parliamentary report on the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) finally takes a long, hard look at the calibre of these controversial tests. As part of the committee process…
What are you paying for when you choose a private, non-government school? Private school image from www.shutterstock.com

Buyer beware: are you really purchasing a ‘better’ education?

Australian parents are increasingly choosing to spend more money on their children’s education. A report released last week showed parents who chose private education for their child were paying an average…
NAPLAN tests are only measuring a very small part of literacy and learning. Writing image from www.shutterstock.com

NAPLAN only measures a fraction of literacy learning

Students across Australia in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are currently sitting for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. These tests are supposedly designed to identify whether…
For all its faults, NAPLAN is helping Indigenous education. AAP Image/Melanie Foster

Closing the gap: NAPLAN will help improve Indigenous education

Federal education minister Peter Garrett confirmed late last week that education ministers from around the country had agreed to lift national efforts to improve Indigenous education results. Results from…
If you want to improve science education, standardised science literacy tests is not the way to go. Test image from www.shutterstock.com

NAPLAN science tests unlikely to improve science education

The federal Labor government’s proposal to expand the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) franchise and include science literacy is not a surprising move. Once national testing…
There’s been plenty of attention on NAPLAN testing this week, but ACARA’s Barry McGaw argues there needn’t be. Test image from www.shutterstock.com

NAPLAN myths: it’s not a high-stakes test

There has been much controversy this week over a study released by the Whitlam Institute claiming that NAPLAN testing is being treated as a high-stakes program that is causing unnecessary stress among…

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