ACT News

My School 2015 goes live with 20 Canberra schools applauded

The My School website has been updated overnight on Wednesday to allow parents to look up details of schools across the nation - most notably their performance in literacy and numeracy as well as financial status, social make-up and attendance record.

Meanwhile, 20 Canberra schools have been identified by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority as demonstrating above average gain for students in either reading, numeracy, or both.

ACARA opposes the rank listing of schools based on raw score performance, as produced in league tables by The Canberra Times each year. Instead it has nominated schools across the country that have demonstrated above average gain compared to schools with similar students.

Its methodology includes schools demonstrating an overall gain compared to previous years, a gain compared with schools with similar students based on the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (or ICSEA) level and a gain compared with other students at similar NAPLAN start points.

The schools nominated by ACARA include Alfred Deakin High, Amaroo School, Canberra Grammar, Chapman Primary Curtin Primary, Emmaus Christian School, Evatt Primary, Gilmore Primary, Holy Trinity Primary, Lyneham Primary, Majura Primary, Maribyrnong Primary, Orana Steiner School, Radford College, St Benedict's Primary, St John Vianney's Primary, Theodore Primary, Torrens Primary, Wanniassa School, Yarralumla Primary.

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ACARA chairman  Barry McGaw said this year's My School release would contain "a  set of quality data that schools, teachers, parents and the wider community can use to help ensure that every child in every classroom receives a high quality education".

He cautioned against league tables of performance, saying they were unfair.

"My School allows for comparisons of results from schools with students from similar socio-educational backgrounds using the index of community and socio-educational advantage scale," he said.

"ICSEA is the level of the school's educational advantage and is calculated using information about parents' occupation, parents' education, school geographical location and the proportion of indigenous students at the school. A school's ICSEA value represents the level of the educational advantage of the school's students."

Part of the update of information which went live overnight on Wednesday was a more detailed explanation of how socio-economic advantage was defined and calculated, following feedback from parents that it was difficult to understand. My School will now contain a plain English and infographic explanation.

ACARA will also issue the results of internal research by Colmar Brunton into what value parents place on the My School website and why.

The Perspectives on My School report states that, generally, parents appreciate having a range of information about schools available in a central online location and that they use My School as part of a suite of information sources to make informed decisions about their child's education.

The 2015 My School release contains the 2014 profile and population data on each school, outcomes of the 2014 round of NAPLAN testing, seven years of performance data for comparison, student attendance data based on indigenous status, and the latest financial figures on each school, including capital expenditure and sources of funding.

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