Gonski calls for education overhaul

The review recommends “learning progressions” instead of age or year-based targets (Bigstock)

Australia’s education system has “failed a generation” of school children, with student outcomes declining in reading, science and maths over the past 18 years, according to a new Gonski report. Source: The Guardian.

A review chaired by businessman David Gonski found Australia needs to overhaul its “industrial model” of school education, declaring it no longer helps students maximise their learning growth.

The new report, titled Through Growth to Achievement, makes 23 recommendations around assessment and reporting regimes for federal, state and territory governments.

Its chief insight is that Australia needs to shift away from a year-based curriculum to a curriculum expressed as “learning progressions”, independent of year or age.

It says Australia’s industrial model of school education, which reflects a 20th century aspiration to deliver mass education to all children, is detrimental to individual student outcomes because it focuses on trying to ensure that millions of students attain specified learning outcomes for their grade and age before moving them in lock-step to the next year of schooling.

“It is not designed to differentiate learning or stretch all students to ensure they achieve maximum learning growth every year, nor does it incentivise schools to innovate and continuously improve,” the report says.

“Australia needs to review and change its model for school education,” it says.

The report was commissioned by federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham after the Turnbull Government’s “Gonski 2.0” school funding plan was passed by parliament last year.

Senator Birmingham will meet state education ministers on Friday to discuss the report. The review’s chairman, David Gonski, will brief ministers.

Senator Birmingham told The Guardian he thinks the report lays out a “comprehensive blueprint for change in the way we look at teaching and school operations”.

The report’s recommendations lean on education researcher John Hattie’s calls for a “year’s growth for a year’s input” in learning. Rather than focusing on assessment measures that focus on high achievement, Mr Hattie says children should receive a year’s learning no matter what developmental level they are at.

The idea has implications for Australia’s model of school assessment because it places less emphasis on the idea that students should be achieving a certain year-level average.

FULL STORY

Australia must overhaul 'industrial' school model, says Gonski-chaired review (The Guardian)

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