WA school leaders are concerned the new Gonski Report 2.0 recommendations may be too “resource hungry” to implement straight away.
The report, produced for the federal government, argued the online tracking of student growth would be better for individual student learning than standardised testing such as NAPLAN.
Western Australian Primary Principals’ Association President Ian Anderson was worried about the amount of resources needed to implement the Gonski Report 2.0.
“To implement, it is going to be resource hungry, it’s going to take a lot of dollars for it to happen,” he said.
The report also recommended teachers make individual learning plans for students rather than being tied to year level curriculum.
“In terms of it taking a lot of money, well I think that’s the cost of having the society that we want for the future,” Mr Anderson said.
“It won’t happen overnight.”
Mr Anderson said he supported the recommendations of the report as long as they were resourced correctly and were detailed.
“It needs to be resourced appropriately,” he said.
“We don’t want to go back to Outcomes Based Education. While in theory it was a great concept, it lacked detail for teachers to be able to implement.”
Western Australian Secondary School Executives Association treasurer Armando Giglia was also concerned by the lack of detail found in the report.
“The recommendations are really all motherhood statements more than anything else,” he said.
“What you have to look at is the fact that the devil’s in the detail,
“We really do need to make sure we look at what those details are.”
The Gonski Report 2.0 opposed using standardised testing programs such as NAPLAN to stop declining student ability.
Curtin University senior education lecturer Brad Gobby criticised the use of NAPLAN as a way to improve student performance.
“NAPLAN gets an F,” he said.
“With no improvement in educational achievement over its 10 years, our resources could be better used elsewhere,
“Politicians need to look to themselves and their policies over successive decades for an explanation of declining achievement.”
A recent survey by the Australian Association for Research in Education found WA teachers and parents believed NAPLAN results were poorly communicated and were not useful for individual student growth.
WA Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said an upcoming Education Council meeting would cover communication concerns of NAPLAN results.
“It was decided at the last meeting to consider terms of reference for a review of NAPLAN including reporting of NAPLAN results at the next meeting in June,” she said.
“Parents want to see published data about how their students and how their schools are achieving literacy and numeracy,
“They want the information presented in a way that is easy to understand.”
Dr Gobby doubted improvements in student achievements would be seen under the current system of competitive, choice-based education.
“Until we re-think how we organise education, I have little hope we will see improvements in the average educational achievement of students,” he said.
Both Mr Anderson and Mr Giglia said political parties needed to align for the recommended changes to happen.
“It’s got to be a bipartisan approach. We’ve got to have all sides of government and politics aligning,” Mr Anderson said.
Mr Giglia said education transcended politics and should not be used as a political football.
“I would just urge that education is not used as a bargaining tool every three years,” he said.
Mrs Ellery said there needed to be clear communication between the Federal and State governments to agree on funding decisions from the report.
“Financial resourcing is critical if we are to implement many of these [recommendations] and so getting the right agreement on funding from the commonwealth is still our high priority,” she said.