Report highlights subdued educational attainment - Education Matters Magazine
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Report highlights subdued educational attainment

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A new report has highlighted the lack of improvement in regards to the percentage of Australian students successfully completing Year 12.

Tom Bentley, principal adviser to the vice-chancellor, RMIT University and Glenn C. Savage, senior lecturer in education policy at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education, recently released the paper, titled Educating Australia: challenges for the decade ahead.

In the report, the pair point out that NAPLAN and My School have not led to improvements in literacy and numeracy, with 2016 data showing either stagnation or decline.

“The national reforms since the mid-2000s were designed to address many of these persistent issues,” they write in a recent article published in The Conversation.

“Yet somehow, despite hard-fought political battles and reforms, and the daily efforts of system leaders, teachers, parents and students across the nation, we continue to replicate a system in which key indicators of impact and equity are stagnating or going backwards,” they said.

“The school funding impasse exemplifies this problem. The policy area is continuously bedevilled by the difficulties of achieving effective collaboration between governments and school sectors in our federal system.”

In the paper, Bentley and Savage argue for a more productive interaction between ideas, evidence, policy and practice in education.

They argue that far greater attention and skill are needed to craft and build the institutional capabilities that render goals achievable, ensure fairness, and foster innovation and systemic learning in the public interest.

“Practical lessons arising from recent innovations in teacher education, professional learning, curriculum alignment and inter-school collaboration can help here,” they said.

“We also need to move beyond a fascination with divisions between governments in Australia’s federal system. We must focus instead on harnessing the potential of networks and collaborations across systems.”

“Ultimately, the future success of Australian school-age education hinges on whether powerful ideas can be realised in practice, across tens of thousands of classrooms and communities,” they said.

“If we want reforms to be effective, their design must be grounded in wide-ranging dialogue about the nature of the problems and evidence about what will help to solve them.”

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