Should you use test scores to help you choose a school for your child?

Filling the pail

Last week, a piece was published in The Conversation by Stewart Riddle. It raised some interesting points about the factors parents should consider when choosing a school. Riddle argued that results from the Australian National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) that are available to parents via the MySchool website do not offer a good guide. This is because most of the difference in student performance can be attributed to socioeconomic background. Parents should instead visit a school and determine if it feels right for them.

I took issue with Riddle’s claim that, “Test results say nothing about teaching quality,” because this seemed like quite an extreme position. Clearly, test results must be influenced by teaching quality, even if that influence is compounded by other factors. Otherwise, we are in a position of denying teachers and schools any agency over academic outcomes; it’s all down to fate. That doesn’t seem like…

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