Minister Langbroek’s school reviewer dismisses parents’ consultation concerns

Parents have been left in the dark after a Newman government reviewer has denied them access to details of fundamental changes mooted for Queensland’s school system, according to the Australian Family Association.

Publication of radical school plan urged

The reviewer, Dr Gabrielle Matters of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), has rejected AFA spokesperson Tempe Harvey’s request to publish detailed school proposals and supporting evidence for parent scrutiny ahead of final recommendations being made by ACER on a raft of issues, such as how seniors would be tested.

Mrs Harvey’s request was made during a Q&A session at an ACER briefing held in Brisbane on Tuesday night to update stakeholders on ACER’s review of senior assessment and tertiary entrance methods for Queensland schools. ACER is due to report to Premier Newman’s government on 31 July 2014.

“A key reason Queensland has by far the worst schools of any state is that parents are routinely ignored in favour of so-called ‘education experts’ whose post-modernist ideas have resulted in our failed system. No way will parents be sidelined this time around.

“We are warning parents that our kids will be treated like guinea pigs if some of the changes hinted at are as experimental as they seem,” Mrs Harvey said.

Concerns over ‘new species’ of external assessment

Mrs Harvey expressed concern that Dr Matters indicated on Tuesday night that ACER has all but rejected recommending external subject exams used in every other State and in wide use internationally. “Instead ACER clearly favours a largely undefined ‘new species of external assessment’ that has yet to be developed and for which ACER has produced no hard evidence that I am aware of,” she said.

Professor Peter Ridd, Acting Head of James Cook University’s School of Engineering and Physical Science, expressed grave concerns that ACER appears to have rejected the recommendations of the recent Queensland parliamentary EIC Inquiry for implementing interstate style external exams in maths and science subjects.

“If we don’t have reliable external subject exams, which also validate and scale internal assessment, universities cannot have any faith in the assessment of school subjects in Queensland,” he said. Professor Ridd also backed the AFA’s call for ACER to publish its full proposals for public scrutiny well before ACER’s recommendations are finalised.



Further reading:

1. “Queensland most improved state on NAPLAN but state still below national average in all 20 test scores”

Tanya Chilcott, Courier-Mail, 13 September 2013

2. “Queensland scores well in NAPLAN tests”

Media Release of Hon. John-Paul Langbroek, 13 September 2013

3. “Submission to Parliamentary Inquiry into Assessment of Senior Maths, Chemistry and Physics”

Australian Family Association, 13 May 2013

4. “Premier's department responds to AFA's open letter

3 February 2014