Home' Teacher : April 2010 Contents News
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and
Reporting Authority (ACARA), which man-
ages the controversial My School website,
had another controversy on its hands in Feb-
ruary when it calledon the Australia School
Ranking website, a commercial website
run by Stephen James that reports data on
'8,000 Australia schools ranked from top to
bottom,' to withdraw its report, claiming it
The following day the site ran with
this: 'We have legally been given the green
light that the contents of the report and its
availability are well within all Australian
law.' James may have a case. In her judge-
ment in February, Federal Court Judge
Michelle Gordon in Telstra Corporation
Limited v Phone Directories Company
ruled that Telstra does not ow n copyright
over the information in its Yellowpages and
Whitepages phone directories because there
is no clear authorship and no originality.
That decision puts into doubt the copyright
protection for any database.
Australian Education Union Federal
President Angelo Gavrielatos said AC AR A
needed to make it clear on the website
that any unauthorised reproduction of the
results was a breach of copyright, but such
a warning may not be legally enforceable.
Gavrielatos called for 'a permanent solu-
tion' to stop the use of My School data for
the publication of league tables.
and copyright THAT WHICH WE CALL A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WOULD
SMELL AS SWEET, BUT THIS ROSE IS CALLED XV900752--429.
STEVE HOLDEN ASKS WHAT'S WITH UNIQUE STUDENT
IDENTIFIERS, ALL OF A SUDDEN?
What's in a number?
The Commonwealth Minister for Education
and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard
announced at the National Press Club in
February that the Rudd Government will
introduce a unique student identifier -- aka
an identification number -- across Australia
'as soon as possible, so that the most rigor-
ous measures of school improvement and
valued added are developed.'
The predictable big-brother issue was
privacy, an issue for which Minister Gillard
was well prepared. As she told Leon Byner
on Adelaide's Radio 5AA, 'Kids, of course,
are going to have names and, you know,
(are) going to be called by their names in
school and treated as an individual. What
we're talking about is not labelling the
child with a number; we're talking about
the child's records at school.'
That buried the more significant edu-
cational issue about tracking student
progress. 'With the cooperation of educa-
tion authorities, and without identifying
individual students,' Gillard explained at
the National Press Club, 'it should be pos-
sible to link national testing records' -- that
is, National Assessment Program -- Literacy
and Numeracy (NAPLAN) data -- 'so that
student progress can be identified from year
to year once the 2010 nationaltest testshave
been taken.' That seems to imply that it's
not currently possible to use NAPLAN data
to track student progress from year to year.
Keep in mind, NAPLAN data can't yet
be used for comparative purposes on a
broad scale because students in Years 5,
7 and 9 haven't yet taken their 2010 tests
that follow up on their 2008 tests when they
were in Years 3, 5 and 7. That'll only be pos-
sible when students in the 2008 cohort take
their biennial next test in May. Comparison
of the NAPLAN data will then be possible
whether they have a unique student identi-
fier or not.
Individual schools already and quite
properly have been making diagnostic use
of 2008 and 2009 NAPLAN test data for
students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9, plus their
own test data for the same students in Years
4, 6, 8 and 10 the following year, to moni-
tor student progress and modify programs.
Com monwealth, state and territory Min-
isters of Education meeting as the Minis-
terial Council on Education, Employment,
Training and Youth Affairs as long ago as
2006 agreed to create a national system for
the transfer of student information between
schools when children move from one state
to another, called the interstate student data
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