Academic rigour and The Conversation

Filling the pail

Here are some claims relating to education that have made in recent weeks by Australian academics in The Conversation:

  1. Our declining results in international tests of literacy show us that our 15 year olds can decode but they can’t comprehend. [Source]
  2. Test results say nothing about teaching quality. [Source]
  3. A study that looked at how schools develop policies and practices to prevent behaviour problems found the following methods effective… [followed by a list of strategies]

The first two claims are obviously false. The only international reading test for 15 year olds is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This does not test decoding and so it is simply impossible to use it to infer that ’15 years olds can decode but they can’t comprehend’. Similarly, although there are many problems with using test results to infer teaching quality, it is clearly not true…

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