Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

If MySchool logic applied to students and university entrance…

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-02-01

I wonder what would happen if the assumptions of MySchool on the worth of schools, their ability to teach students, were applied to entrance scores for university courses?

If one school is deemed half as good as another, then surely a student from the inferior school, with test results three standard deviations above the mean for that school, shows greater ability and dedication to learning, and is more worthy of entry into an elite course like medicine or law, than a person who may have got the same absolute year 12 score, but was only one standard deviation above the mean for the better-scoring school.

Indeed, any raw score for a student of one school scoring half that of another, should be doubled when considering eligibility for a tertiary course.

Imagine the howls of protest from the ivy-walled private schools, as parents dragged the brighter kids away to place them in more disadvantaged state schools.

Imagine how the per-capita funding of schools, even on just a federal level, could be more equitable.

Will the KRudd government be consistent, applying the same logic to both sides of the educational equation, the school and the student?  I doubt it, because KRudd’s dependence for re-election on Howard’s aspirationalists is considerable.  Any remaining ALP commitment to social justice and equitable allocation of taxpayer funds, as with promises of action on carbon emissions, will be further hollowed, until only the a skin, filled with hot air, remains.

And what of parents who leave the private system for the state schools do?  Perhaps they might spend more time with their kids, encouraging learning, buying books rather than game consoles, installing netfilters to limit internet use to edifying sites apart from perhaps, an hour a day?  If spending more quality time with their kids, will parents be less inclined to climb the greasy pole, work unpaid overtime, and make corporations actually earn their money through empowering employees to be more efficient and creative rather than rely on exploitation?

We could also apply the same logic to the character-building capability of schools, using the negative value of damage to society caused by former students (e.g. corporate incompetence or criminality by dollar value, damage to persons and property, straight out theft) was compared to the demographic of the address of the parents, on the same basis.  Criminals from disadvantaged areas tend to impact only a few people, e.g. through burglaries, whereas those from wealthy areas affect millions by corporate collapses and on to the monies available to governments to allow better lives for citizens – think about the Global Financial Cockup.

Perhaps MySchool, if a stalking horse for trimming the pie of taxpayer funds for education that go to private schools, for equitable fund allocation, could be a good thing… but only if KRudd isn’t a populist hypocrite but a leader who does what is most needed.

I’d reckon the chances of KRudd actually doing the right thing here, if the track record of this government is any guide, is about 5%.


One Response to “If MySchool logic applied to students and university entrance…”

  1. Lyn said

    One of the reasons elite schools have higher year 12 averages is that they discourage low achievers from sitting the exams. You’d get a more complete performance picture if you could compare compulsory NAPLAN results with non-compulsory results.

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