NAPLAN has now been in place for a decade and needs ongoing review and refinement to make it more useful to classroom teaching and learning.
The Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools discusses a model that gives children personalised teaching based on their ability and achievements, rather than grouping children together according to their age.
On Focus, Nadia sets out to find out exactly what personalised learning is, how it works and what its benefits - or shortcomings - might be.
She speaks to Professor Geoff Masters, CEO of the Australian Council for Educational Research, who outlines the shortcomings in our current system and the alarming decline in the performance of 15-year-olds compared to students in other countries.
Dr Glenn Savage, senior lecturer in Public Policy and Sociology of Education at the University of Western Australia agrees that while there is a definite decline in the achievement of Australian students compared to their international peers, he is more sceptical about the recommendations made in Gonski 2.0.
He says there are better things to be spending our education dollars on than another big overhaul of the Australian education system.
He also believes several changes over the past few years have not helped stem the decline and we still have not tackled the issues of inequitable access to education funding that were identified by the first Gonski report.
- Does the new report addresses the question of inequality?
- Is ‘personalised teaching’ worth the money and investment?
- Is the educational sector exhausted by continual reform agendas?
- Do the recommendations really address what is happening in the classroom?
Glenn Savage also summarised his thoughts in a post on The Conversation. While Geoff Masters (and Ray Adams) published a post in the ACER Newsletter addressing the question of ‘inequality’ arguing that recent findings have found that equity and fairness are often more important.
In an ‘equitable’ school system, students’ special needs and unequal socioeconomic backgrounds are recognised and resources (for example, teaching expertise) are distributed unequally in an attempt to redress disadvantage due to personal and social circumstances. Here again, ‘equity’ is achieved by prioritising fairness over equality.source
The way we organise the school curriculum (and the way most of the world organises the school curriculum) is not consistent with what we know about the conditions for successful learning. The current curriculum is not designed to guarantee teaching at an appropriate level of challenge for each and every learner. An alternative would be to structure the curriculum not in year levels but in proficiency levels, where a proficiency level is an absolute level of attainment or competence in an area of learning, regardless of age or year of school.