Standardised tests; bonus payments ineffective, claim visiting American educator.
NAPLAN report: http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2011/05/06/3210256.htm
The report featured visiting Education Adviser to the Obama administration, Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the Australian Secondary Principal's Association, Sheree Vertigan, and Federal Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett.
In the report, Darling-Hammond, who was visiting Australia on the invitation of the Australian Education Union, claimed government educational policy that focused on standardised testing and bonus payments to teachers, had been ineffective in the United States.
The esteemed education academic also claimed using standardised testing was increasingly being discredited in the US, just as Australia was "moving towards" an emphasis on these measures.
Standardised tests which focused on multiple choice answers were not providing students with 'career ready skills', said Darling-Hammond, and teaching to such tests resulted in reduced problem solving, writing and constructive thinking skills.
President of the Australian Secondary Principal's Association, Sheree Vertigan, was concerned about the use of test results as a school-ranking tool. She said the NAPLAN test was "one little snapshot in time and it doesn't give a complete picture of what a child's capable of".
Vertigan also claimed that using the test results as the basis of school-comparison data on the My School website undermined any educational value of the test as an assessment tool of literacy and numeracy.
She also criticised the proposed government scheme to introduce bonus payments to supposed high-performing teachers, as announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard early this month (see below). Ms Vertigan said a bonus payments system would diminish the "collaborative nature" of the teaching profession.
In the report, Garrett did not address these claims directly. He supported the NAPLAN tests, saying literacy and numeracy were the 'bedrock' of a child's education.
He also disputed any comparison between the American education experience and Australian policy.
You can watch the report yourself on the ABC's website HERE
See below for a report on the proposed Bonus Payments for Teachers policy.