25 February 2010

National Student ID Number and MySchool

In case you haven't theard Julia Gillard is promoting a National ID scheme for every student so that parents can track their children's performance if they move schools.
Read Gillard flags national ID scheme for school children and Teachers not consulted over ID plan.

Now most opponents have are citing "civil liberties" and the return of the National ID card as the main reason not to implement the program. My main beef with this is that it already exists.
Each school has a record of their students. It contains all the relevant information and if a student moves between schools this record follows them. The report can be viewed at any time by teaching staff, executive staff, welfare staff and parents/caregivers upon request (at least in the government sector. I can't comment on private schools but common sense says it is so).

This is the second scheme that the Federal Education Minister has released that is just a rehash of existing infrastructure. That website (http://www.myschool.edu.au/) that displays the results of the National Numeracy and Literacy Standards testing. All of these results were given to principals, teachers and parents. It showed How the school compared to neighbouring schools and to schools in similar socioeconomic settings (parents may have to request this bit. I'm not too sure).

The next step in which people are talking about is then linking these results to teachers' pay and school funding and here is where it all falls apart. When you increase a teacher's pay in relation to results of these tests all that will happen is that students will be taught to how to do well in these tests. Do you really think that it isn't happening already? The test papers appear in the schools in the week leading up to when they will be taken. How many principals resist the temptation just to peak at the questions and the leak them to teachers?

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