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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (14 June) . . Page.. 1762 ..

School league tables

MR BERRY (4.41): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) opposes the Government's decision to report school averages on literacy and numeracy tests to parents because it will lead to the publication of school league tables;

(2) rejects school league tables because they provide inaccurate and misleading information about school performance, lead to greater inequities in schooling and unfairly label some schools and their students and families; and

(3) calls on the Government to abandon its proposals to report school results and to engage in further consultations with stakeholders on ways to improve reporting to parents and to increase Government accountability for improving educational outcomes for all students.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the motion deals with school competitions, or what are commonly called league tables, and it goes a long way to explaining my position in relation to this matter. The government introduced an assessment scheme into the school system, which is at the centre of the reasons for this motion.

This motion arises from the substantial opposition to the government's move to commence this sort of reporting in our schools. It seems to me that the government has some sort of infatuation with the marketplace, where everybody has got to be competing with everybody else. You have to know what everybody else is about so that you can compete. There is a difficulty with this approach in respect of schools. A lot of evidence in Australia and overseas-and I will come to that later-demonstrates that this will have a negative outcome and will impact badly on the education system.

It is clear that the education community is unhappy about this approach, and when you read all the work that they have done on it, it is not hard to see why. The May 2001 edition of Feedback from the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations talks about school league tables and comments on the government's position. I will read some comments into the record:

The first round of school results will be available later this year after literacy and numeracy assessments are conducted in all ACT government primary and high schools in August. All parents of students in these schools will be provided with their school average score for each assessment together with the system average.

The Government says it will not publish league tables. It says that schools will not be permitted to use school results for marketing purposes or to publish their results in school newsletters. However, while reporting school results to parents, it is providing information which can be used-

and this is the crunch point-

by others to construct and publish league tables.

It goes on to say, among other things:

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