Parents should know when their child’s education is at stake


Blocking parents' ability to easily compare schools' literacy and numeracy results is a blatant disregard for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority's own declaration of transparency.

ACARA's decision to effectively ban media outlets from taking complicated NAPLAN data and collating it into fathomable information will make it even more difficult for parents to trawl through the swathes of data which make up a child or school's result.

NAPLAN is not a simple, easy to understand scorecard - it is a test comprising multiple assessments areas, reported via a mixture of scales, bands and performance standards.

Comparing the results of one school to another - in so-called 'league tables' - is one way of making the complicated information useful to the average mum and dad.

While there has long been contention over the benefits of NAPLAN and multiple stakeholders have called for the test to end all-together, as it stands it is the only national standardised test.

With no viable alternative, and it continuing to cost taxpayers millions along the way, it is crucial the data it produces is made readily available and easy to understand.

Ever since the launch of the MySchool website, there has been vigorous contention over how the information is used.

But by ACARA's own standards MySchool is designed to support "transparency and accountability".

A simple, school-by-school results comparison of NAPLAN results does exactly that.

Going forward all schools' NAPLAN information will still be available in some form on the MySchool website, if you know where to look.

But for parents, who don't have hours to trawl through the multi-layered website and attempt to decipher the vast amounts of data, the ability to quickly compare their school to others was invaluable.

Originally published as Parents deserve to know when their child's education is at stake

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