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School League Tables

posted Sep 14, 2009, 3:35 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 15, 2009, 5:20 AM by Eddie Woo ]
Classwork: [link]
School league tables are aimed to provide information about the ranking of schools based on national literacy and numeracy results.
  • Make available the details of the academic results of schools - parents have some knowledge of where they want their children to go
  • Pushes to improve academic results of students
    • Could be useful to a certain degree
  • Provides feedback for schools - tells schools when their students are not adequately educated
  • Gives 'good' students a chance to work with those who are similar to them in ability - could be beneficial
  • Do not assess a wide range of abilities - only looks at test results, & only in numeracy & literacy
    • Cannot express the merits of a school in a number - there are many types
    • Pressure schools into improving the students' examination results rather than other important skills
      • Could overlook students who are academically below average but otherwise talented
    • Do not help prepare students for the real world - numeracy & literacy skills are only useful in the real world up to a certain point
  • Well-performing students in 'failing' schools may be undervalued
    • Job prospects are worse
  • Other things can be done to improve the standards of failing schools - funding and support can be provided
    • The money going into producing league tables could be given to improve schooling, especially when...
    • The government already has an idea of which schools are performing poorly
  • Do not account for schools with students from disadvantaged backgrounds
    • Encourages segregation of different backgrounds (ethnic and social) & abilities in community
    • Does not give 'poor' students a chance to work with 'better' students
  • Newspapers already publish rankings of some high schools based on the results of the HSC.
Emerging technologies
  • It is now possible to collect & analyse the massive amounts of data to produce league tables without taking up too much time or effort.
  • Communication technologies can make league tables available to many people, whereas before, it would have been a lot more difficult to spread information quickly and widely.
Although there are potential benefits of school league tables, it seems that they are largely unnecessary. The results are based only on national assessments on numeracy and literacy, and the merit of the school is represented by a ranking. This does not take into account the development of students in non-academic fields, nor does it take into account that the academic abilities of students cannot be assessed by tests alone. The introduction of league tables may pressure schools into training their students for tests instead of equipping students with useful skills in life.
Well-performing students may also be disadvantaged if they attend or attended a 'failing' school. The system does not account for schools that have a high population of disadvantaged students, and can encourage segregation of students from different backgrounds and of different academic abilities. This can be detrimental to the 'poorer' group of students, who will not have the chance to work with 'better' students who can potentially be positive influences.
It is mentioned that the government already have an idea which schools are not performing well. Sometimes, it is funding and support that these schools require. Instead of using money to produce league tables that present already known information, the costs could be used to assist 'failing' schools. Other forms of ranking schools are also already present in, for example, the 'top __' lists produced by newspapers every year based on HSC results for NSW.