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A Review of School Accountability in Australia. Dr David Gurr, Dr Lawrie Drysdale, Ms Helen Goode The University of Melbourne [email protected] Published as:

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a review of school accountability in australia

A Review of School Accountability in Australia

Dr David Gurr, Dr Lawrie Drysdale, Ms Helen Goode

The University of Melbourne

[email protected]

Published as:

Gurr, D. (2007) Diversity and progress in school accountability systems in Australia, Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 6(3), pp. 165-186.

context
Context
  • Six States and two Territories who are constitutionally responsible for public school education.
  • Geographically as large as the USA, but with less than 30 million people located mainly in capital cities in coastal locations.
  • World champions in Australian Rules Football.
methodology
Methodology

The information has been gathered through searching of publicly available Education Department websites (2005, 2006, 2007), discussions with department representatives, and through comparison with a review undertaken in late 2004 by a company associated with Professor Peter Cuttance (Radii, 2004).

learmouth
Learmouth
  • Contractual accountability is focussed on meeting the requirements of the system.
  • Moral accountability is concerned with meeting the needs of parents and students.
  • Professional accountability is concerned with meeting one’s own expectations and those of colleagues.
contractual accountability focussed on meeting the requirements of the system
Contractual accountability(focussed on meeting the requirements of the system)

All but one of the states have systems in place that meet contractual accountability obligations, although New South Wales and Western Australia have systems that are limited in the quality of data generated, and in South Australia there is not strong linkage between the review process and contractual obligations.

moral accountability concerned with meeting the needs of parents and students
Moral Accountability(concerned with meeting the needs of parents and students)

In all but the Northern Territory, moral accountability is also evident at a systemic level. In New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland meeting the needs of the school community seems to have heightened emphasis.

professional accountability concerned with meeting one s own expectations and those of colleagues
Professional Accountability (concerned with meeting one’s own expectations and those of colleagues)

Only two states have the potential for schools to engage in professional accountability.

Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have systems that allow individuals in schools to reflect deeply on school education.

These systems encourage this through an external, independent review component that supports and challenges schools.

The systems are not comprehensive (for example, neither mandates reflection based upon classroom observations although it is an option in the ACT), and the Victorian system is a low-cost program that limits the amount of discussion available.

summary
Summary
  • In terms of the leading-edge developments, by virtue of the use of independent verification, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have the most developed systems, with Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania following.
  • The use of survey data is a feature of most state systems, as is the concern to provide parents and the community with useful school performance information.
  • It seems that in the next few years every state will have established a new or updated accountability system that will approach the leading states in terms of school planning and self-assessment, and increasingly in terms of independent verification.
  • Non-government schools will likely come under similar arrangements in the future, either through government mandate or self-initiated policies and processes.
summary1
Summary
  • The areas that are strikingly absent from Australian systems are judgements on teaching practice in individual classrooms(except for the ACT), and, the use of sophisticated measures of learning and value-added analysis. With all states and territories not wanting to construct systems that might be construed as inspectorial, and with an aversion to expensive review processes, it is likely that few Australian states or territories will include judgements on teaching practice in individual classrooms as part of an accountability/supervision process.
  • With some states already providing schools with an extensive range of data, the use of sophisticated measures of learning and value-added analysis are likely to appear in Australian systems as these forms of data collection and analysis become more acceptable and easier to construct.
slide10
Key trends:
    • Combination of internal and external review will be the norm, but with more school self-evaluation and more differentiation
  • Future possibilities
    • Greater emphasis on professional accountability (to self and professional colleagues), rather than contractual (to system) or moral (to children and parents).
    • Greater emphasis on self-directed reviews - schools in control of reviews.
contact david gurr d gurr@unimelb edu au

Contact: David [email protected]

Published as:

Gurr, D. (2007) Diversity and progress in school accountability systems in Australia, Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 6(3), pp. 165-186.

victorian government school reviews
Victorian Government School Reviews

Differentiated review process

  • Diagnostic schools
  • Continuous improvement
  • Negotiated
diagnostic reviews
Diagnostic Reviews
  • Determined to be performing significantly below expected levels (both in trends and compared to all other schools of the same type (eg primary) in at least two data sets. About 10% of schools.
  • Designed to support school communities to strengthen their capacity to become more effective and in turn, deliver better educational outcomes
  • Much more intensive, at least 2 days, maybe two reviewers, focussed on strategies for improvement
continuous improvement reviews
Continuous Improvement Reviews
  • This group includes the majority of schools. These schools are regarded as having satisfactory performance but with scope for improvement. They are neither exemplary or in trouble.
  • The process is similar to the current process - self evaluation and verification by a reviewer.
  • External reviewer funded for 4 days: one day in school, 3 days analysing data and writing report.
negotiated reviews
Negotiated Reviews
  • High performing schools (10-15% of schools) will have a negotiated review which will involve the school doing their own review without any imposed external verification.
  • For a school to be categorised for participation in a negotiated review it has to be performing significantly above expected levels, when compared to other schools, in at least two data sets and have no performance issues in any other data set.
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