The new My School website has been launched by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). My School provides statistical and contextual profiles of almost 10,000 Australian schools, including the number of students and teachers at the school and how the school is performing in national literacy and numeracy testing. The site allows parents and school communities to compare their school's results with those of neighbouring schools and statistically similar schools. See statement 28 January 2010 and related statements by Australian Minister for Education Julia Gillard. The publication of the My School site has generated extensive media coverage. See for example commentary in The Australian 3 February and recent critical statements from the Australian Education Union; report 2 February, opinion piece 1 February and later opinion piece 3 February 2010 in The Sydney Morning Herald; and article 3 February and later report 4 February 2010 in The Australian. The Prime Minister has foreshadowed an extension of the site in 2011 to include the results of parental satisfaction surveys: see for example article in The Sydney Morning Herald and article in The Courier Mail both 1 February 2010 and report on ABC News 1 February 2010. See also related What's New items on this page.
Teachers in one region of the Victorian Department of Education have been called upon to teach 'explicitly' for national numeracy and literacy tests, according to an article in The Age and an article in The Australian 5 February 2010. See also related What's New items on this page.
Delegates at the Australian Education Union's Annual Federal Conference have voted unanimously to boycott this year's NAPLAN literacy and numeracy tests, in protest against the Australian Government's policies on school performance reporting. The tests are normally undertaken by students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in May. See articles in The Age, The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald all 19 January 2010. See also related What's New items on this page.
The Australian Curriculum Studies Association (ACSA) held its 2009 Biennial Conference over 2–4 October last year, titled Curriculum: a national conversation. The ACSA website provides access to material from the conference, including summaries of delegates' participation in panel discussions covering the professional culture and skills that teachers need to help all students achieve well, and also the challenges of a national curriculum for equity and engagement.
A new national report by the Productivity Commission details improving national retention rates for Indigenous students. Rates of retention have risen from 45.7 per cent in 2003 to 48.5 per cent in 2007, with the gap in Year 10 to Year 12 retention rates between Indigenous students and all students decreasing. See also media release on the report by South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith, 29 January 2010.
Close to 3,700 construction projects have been completed or are underway in New South Wales schools, funded by the Australian Government. The projects, undertaken across more than 2,000 public schools, include the construction and refurbishment of school buildings, and the construction of science and language centres. See media release 2 February 2010 from the New South Wales Minister for Education and Training, Verity Firth.
Indian community leader Umesh Chandra has been appointed by the Queensland Government as a local liaison officer between the Government and the State's Indian students. Mr Chandra's appointment is part of an effort to support Queensland's 20,000-strong Indian student population. See statement of 29 January 2010 from the State Minister for Disability Services and Multicultural Affairs, Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Over 300 teachers have registered their interest in the Teacher Career Transition Program in Victoria, set up to help those who have lost the passion for teaching to leave the profession to retrain and establish new careers. See article in The Age 27 December 2009.
Concern has been expressed that some schools have charged students for out-of-school use of the classroom laptops provided under the Australian Government's nationwide rollout of laptop computers. See article in The Australian 18 January 2010.
A study published in the journal Neuron has found that intensive reading programs produce changes in brain structure that can improve coordination between the different areas of the brain. These changes can have a positive effect on reading skills. See article from the USA's National Public Radio (NPR.org) 9 December 2009.
A study has found that young people's attitudes toward their school can significantly effect whether they do well later in life. The study's author, doctoral candidate Meredith O'Connor, notes that it is essential for schools to engage all students in order to promote positive outcomes. See Melbourne University news item 2 November 2009.