Bookmarked QandA:‘what works’ in ed with Bob Lingard, Jessica Gerrard, Adrian Piccoli, Rob Randall,Glenn Savage (chair) by an author
On November 6th, I hosted a Q&A Forum at the University of Sydney, co-sponsored by the AARE ‘Politics and Policy in Education’ Special Interest Group and the School and Teacher Education Policy Research Network at the University of Sydney. It featured Adrian Piccoli (Director of the UNSW Gonski Institute for Education), Jessica Gerrard (senior lecturer in education, equity and politics at the University of Melbourne), Bob Lingard (Emeritus Professor at the University of Queensland and Professorial Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University) and Rob Randall (CEO of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority).
Glenn Savage chairs a conversation with a varied group of voices discussing impact of evidence, Think Tanks and NAPLAN on education.

Marginalia

We can’t rely on a medical model, where RCTs come from, for something like classroom practice, and you can see this in John Hattie’s very influential book Visible Learning. You just have to look at the Preface where he says that he bracketed out of his study any factor that was out of school … there’s no RCT on the funding of elite private schools, but yet we do these things. (Jessica Gerrard)

The think tank usually has a political-ideological position, it usually takes the policy problem as given rather than thinking about the construction, I think it does research and writes reports which have specific audiences in mind, one the media and two the politicians. (Bob Lingard)

NAPLAN is the King Kong of education policy because it started off relatively harmless on this little island and now it’s ripping down buildings and swatting away airplanes. I mean it’s just become this dominant thing in public discourse around education. (Adrian Piccoli)

Liked Teacher learning, not student test results, should be a national priority for Australia (EduResearch Matters)
Useful data can also include teachers’ notes about student academic progress more generally, their level of attentiveness in class, as well as about their well-being and social engagement with their peers, and other adults in the school. Seeking to work productively with a wide and deep array of data, beyond simply standardized measures, is the key to fostering substantive teacher learning for student learning.
Bookmarked How school principals respond to govt policies on NAPLAN. (Be surprised how some are resisting) (EduResearch Matters)
My study found two main ways that she managed to resist the more performative influences of school improvement policies. Firstly, the school had a collaboratively-developed school vision that focused on valuing individual students and valuing the aspects of education that can’t be easily measured. The power of the vision was that it served as a filter for all policy enactment decisions made at the school. If it didn’t align with their vision, it didn’t happen. There was also agreement in this vision from the staff, students, and community members, who kept that vision at the forefront of their work with the school. The second key aspect was that Anne had developed a strong ‘track record’ with her supervisors, and this engendered trust in her judgment as a leader. She was given more autonomy to make her policy enactment decisions as a result, because of this sense of trust. It was developed over a long time in the same school and in the same region before that. To develop her track record, Anne worked hard to comply with departmental requirements (deadlines, paperwork, and other basic compliance requirements).
Dr Amanda Heffernan reflects upon a case study investigating ‘policy enactment’.

How principals implement, or carry out, policy in their schools.

An example of this is the focus on growth, testing and NAPLAN results. She highlights two methods used to refocus things. Firstly, have a clear school vision and secondly, build trust with her system supervisors.

This continues some of the discussions had in the collect National Testing in Schools.

Liked Why the NAPLAN results delay is a storm in a teacup (The Conversation)

The real issue underpinning the controversy is the misuse of NAPLAN data. It was never intended that NAPLAN data would be used for fine-grained comparison of students.

The MySchool website has contributed to the misuse of NAPLAN data. For example, the scores from the site are being used to make comparisons irrespective of the “error bands” that need to be taken into account when making comparisons. People are ascribing a level of precision to the results that was never intended when the tests were developed. The test was never designed to be high-stakes and the results should not be used as such.

When people challenge the “validity” of the NAPLAN test, they should be challenging the validity of the use of the results. NAPLAN has a high degree of validity, but we need to understand it better and use the results in a more judicious and defensible manner. The correct use of NAPLAN data is a major issue and it needs to be addressed as a matter of priority.

Liked The NAPLAN online controversy is about a failure of meaning, and not about a failure of technology (Tulip Education)
The inability of NAPLAN to reflect broader developments in society is being exposed by the transition to NAPLAN online. The latest NAPLAN controversy is not the result of a glitch or technical incompetence. Instead, the controversy exposes a broader conceptual problem in Australian education. Australian policy-makers and commentators have been spoiled by Australia coming of high-base of educational performance, and by an abundance of educational data that allows for broad and sweeping policy commentary. However, this approach is leading to a continued decline in Australian educational achievement. NAPLAN online exposes the need to reconnect educational assessment with the world that students experience.
Replied to Building the Windmill (or knocking it down again?) by Darcy Moore (Darcy Moore's Blog)
It is easy to be wise after the event but it was clear to everyone in education at the time what this kind of standardised testing (soon to be turned into pseudo-league tables) would do to our schools and communities. Now, we are all about to embark on the next iteration of school reform with many of the same players in place and the same kind of flawed, grand educational policy about to start afresh. One can only hope we do not forget the lessons of Animal Farm for those of us who have to carry out the real work of planning for the never-ending rebuilding of The Windmill.
It feels like people are picking and choosing the bits that they like in the new Gonski review, I wonder though whether we can have the collaboration without the newfound accountability?

Anyway, off to push the rock to the top of the hill once again.

Bookmarked It’s time to be honest with parents about NAPLAN: your child’s report is misleading, here’s how (EduResearch Matters)

At the national level, however, the story is different. What NAPLAN is good for, and indeed what it was originally designed for, is to provide a national snapshot of student ability, and conducting comparisons between different groups (for example, students with a language background other than English and students from English-speaking backgrounds) on a national level.

This is important data to have. It tells us where support and resources are needed in particular. But we could collect the data we need this by using a rigorous sampling method, where a smaller number of children are tested (a sample) rather than having every student in every school sit tests every few years. This a move that would be a lot more cost effective, both financially and in terms of other costs to our education system.

Nicole Mockler summarises Margaret Wu’s work.around the limitations to NAPLAN in regards to statistical testing. Moving forward, Mockler suggests that NAPLAN should become a sample based test (like PISA) and is better suited as a tool for system wide analysis. To me, there is a strange balance where on the one hand many agree that NAPLAN is flawed, yet again and again we return to it as a source of ‘truth’.
Listened TER #111 – Learning and Wellbeing with Helen Street – 29 April 2018 from Teachers' Education Review
Links and notes coming soon! Timecodes: 00:00:00 Opening Credits 00:01:31 Intro 00:02:28 NAPLAN in the news 00:15:04 Feature Introduction 00:16:32 Off Campus – Dan Haesler 00:18:44 Dr Helen S…
Cameron Malcher provides a useful summary of the recent discussions of NAPLAN in the news: