Teacher Education Degrees Should Face Scrutiny

Australian teachers are underprepared for the classroom compared to those in other countries, according to a recent global survey. The result indicates initial teacher education in Australia often isn’t up to scratch. The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) asked teachers around the world how prepared they were after completing their teacher education degrees. And on almost every measure — including being prepared to teach specific subjects, teach mixed-ability classes, and manage the classroom — Australian teachers reported being less prepared than the OECD teacher average. While we should not rely too much on international surveys (because teachers in different countries…

No, School Choice Does Not Cause ‘Segregation’

The mental gymnastics displayed by some people in order to blame school choice for Australia’s education woes never cease to amaze. A recent OECD report on school choice and equity indicated Australia has one of the most ‘segregated’ school systems in the OECD. This just means schools tend to have less diversity of student socioeconomic background — not that they are practising apartheid. And if we look at education equity in terms of what actually matters — the effect student socioeconomic background has on achievement — then Australia’s equity is actually slightly better than the OECD average. So finger-wagging at selective and…

The Illusion of Rigor: Why Japanese Schools Outperform their Western Counterparts

International comparisons of mathematics achievement were begun in 1964 by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Over a period of almost four decades, the highest achieving systems have been Japan, and, as they successively joined the study, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In 1964, Japan was virtually tied with Israel for first place and retained that rank on the Second International Mathematics Study (SIMS) in 1981, while Israel had dropped to 12th place. In 1995, on the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS), Japan had dropped to 3rd place and then to 5th place…

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