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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 66..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

That is not an approach that this government wants to have. This government will not go down the path of opening up the prospect of comparing the performance of schools when no comparison can take into account the differing socio-economic contexts in which those schools operate. For instance, a school that is operating in a relatively affluent area will almost inevitably achieve better results for their students than a school that is operating in a socially or economically disadvantaged area.

We are not going to open up the prospect of school reporting, which will only widen that divide and reinforce the disadvantage that some schools face. What we will be doing is ensuring that parents have full access to information on the performance of their child. Those are the steps that I have asked the department to take.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, why is it that the results of the 2001 ACTAP tests, which were conducted in August of this year and which would normally have gone out to parents by now, will not be available to parents until the end of the new school year-more than six months after the tests were conducted? Is this a sign that your government is proposing to withdraw from this essential educational tool?

MR CORBELL: No, it is not a sign of any intention of the government to withdraw from reporting student results to parents. The delay in the ACTAP results is an issue with the organisation responsible for compiling those results. They had made a number of errors in relation to the compilation of the material from testing in ACT schools. That led to a delay in the material being ready to be presented to students. When that was occurring we were in caretaker mode, and then we were the new government. Quite clearly, the department of education, as is its responsibility, advised me on the options available to the new government in relation to reporting.

I have indicated to the department the new government's view on reporting and making reporting available to students' parents. That will result in changes to the information previously prepared by the organisation responsible for preparing ACTAP's results. That delay is on top of the fact that the reports would have been in place if it had not been for errors made by the organisation responsible for preparing them. This government does not resile from reporting on students. We will report fully on the outcomes of students so that parents are fully aware of the issues their children face as well as of their achievements in school.

Free school bus services

MS MacDONALD: My question to the minister for education relates to the cessation of the school student transport scheme. Could the minister tell the Assembly what action the government has taken to wind up this Liberal election bribe?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. Of course, as members would be aware, this was a contentious issue during the recent election campaign. There was a clear difference between the government and the Liberal opposition.

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