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Government School Students Fare Better than their Private School counterparts in like SES areas

Posted on 3 March 2018
Government School Students Fare Better than their Private School counterparts in like SES areas

Private schools outclassed in VCE results, study reveals

PUBLIC school students get better VCE results than their private counterparts with the same level of advantage, new analysis reveals.

A Monash University researcher has crunched the numbers and compared private and public schools with similar rankings in their socioeducational backgrounds of students.

"Overall, the claim that private schools outperform public schools is a myth," said David Zyngier, a senior lecturer in curriculum and pedagogy at Monash's Peninsula campus.

Dr Zyngier used VCAA and MySchool data to compare the most recent median VCE study scores, rankings, and 40-plus scores of public and private school students with a similar Index of Community SocioEducational Advantage (ICSEA).

ICSEA values are calculated by parents' occupations and education, postcode, and the proportion of indigenous students, with an average benchmark score of 1000.

"Public schools in almost every instance are equal to or better than private schools," Dr Zyngier said of the analysis, which excluded select entry and small schools.

"The other important thing that my research shows is the lower the socio-economic status of the school, the lower its results are in general - it clearly shows that." Dr Zyngier said that meant with intervention, schools with a low ICSEA score could "defy their postcode".

"Postcode is not destiny," he said.

Among schools to prove exactly that was Narre Warren South P-12, with a well-below average ICSEA of 948.

"We know we are a disadvantaged community but we don't want that to become an excuse for kids not to perform," principal Rob Duncan said.

The 2200 students at the school southeast of Melbourne come from 64 nationalities, some with difficulty speaking English when they arrive, and a large number of refugees.

Yet the school's 2017 median VCE study score was 30 - rivalling some of the private schools and even select entry schools in the area.

Using equity funding, the school has focused on early literacy, while committed teachers hold tutoring sessions with students on campus for hours after the last bell rings.

"Kids can walk down the road and know they're going to be OK," Mr Duncan said.

"They're going to be able to follow their dreams and aspirations.

"I feel confident that any kid going into the public school will have a positive experience."

From: Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne  by Ashley Argoon
25 Feb 2018

Tags: curriculum

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