Student outcomes, not cash, must drive schools reform

Ben Jensen's Australian Financial Review opinion piece.

March 28, 2017 | Ben Jensen

Tying funding to specific interventions reinforces rather than changes the focus on inputs.

It sounds like accountability, but it isn’t. It encourages people to comply and judge their decisions against a long and changing list of the ‘the right things’. It fails to get schools and school systems to evaluate and continually learn from the impact of their actions on student outcomes. This is the change we drastically need.

Minister Birmingham needs to shift the debate from inputs to how easy school system is improving student learning. He could lead a regular public debate on how each system is performing. A report or scorecard could show the learning outcomes for students in each system across the country, with a focus on growth from previous years. It could focus on the whole student, covering attendance and retention, literacy, numeracy, other key learning areas, education attainment, post-school destinations and well-being. Comparing progress on a prioritised subset of these measures against funding levels would spur a meaningful education debate.”

Read more from Ben Jensen’s opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review on their website here.