School reports on year 12 outcomes - media publication and supporting information

School reports on Year 12 outcomes – media publication and supporting The 2005 school reports on Year 12 outcomes will be published in Queensland
metropolitan and regional newspapers on Monday 3 April 2006.
The data will also be published on the QSA website at 12 noon on the same day. Attached are some questions and answers about the public release, possible uses and interpretations of this information, which may help you in your communications with your school community. Following my previous memo (017/06) of 16 February 2006, many schools have provided the QSA with more comprehensive information on students completing VET qualifications and completing or continuing school-based apprenticeships and traineeships. Where evidence to substantiate changes to a school’s student outcome data has been provided to QSA, those data have now been amended. Data for your individual school will be available on the secure QSA website by noon Friday 31 March 2006 using your existing security code. Enquiries
The QSA contact officer for technical/data issues is Glen Whitaker email or phone 3864 0245. The QSA contact officer for other issues is Dr Ian Cosier, email or phone 3864 0261. PO Box 307 Spring Hil Queensland 4004 Australia ATTACHMENT
Why are we publishing schools’ Year 12 outcomes data?
The Queensland Government is publicly accountable for its investment in education and believes parents and the wider community are entitled to know what students are learning and achieving at school. The Year 12 outcomes data provide a range of information about the programs schools offer and what students are achieving at the end of Year 12. Do we need to publish so much information?
Extensive information on student outcomes is published to give an accurate account of the range of education options being provided by schools for students. Queensland schools are very good at meeting the needs of their communities, which means schools differ in the same way communities differ. Many students follow a traditional Year 12 range of courses leading to university. For others, vocational education and training qualifications lead to skilled work in industry. Some Year 12 graduates have successfully combined a range of academic courses and vocational qualifications providing options for further education, training and work. For some students a Senior Certificate is a major achievement – one that was possibly not enjoyed by their parents or grandparents.
Isn’t this another way to rank schools?
No. The outcomes report is not a league table. Schools have been listed in alphabetical order because no single measure can ever capture the range of successes that occur across schools. Different schools draw their students from different populations. Some Queensland schools are selective. Other schools take all students without regard to their ability or aspirations, while others target particular groups of students such as students with a disability, indigenous students and students from non-English speaking backgrounds. Couldn’t rankings be calculated from the Year 12 outcomes data?
Yes, they could, but a league table based on any single outcome measure would tell very little about the effectiveness of a school program or what students really get out of their 12 years at school. Such lists fail to recognise that a good education is more than just preparation for exams. Schools design their curriculum to meet the particular needs of their students and help them to reach their potential. How can parents and the community use the data?
Parents and the community can get a range of useful information from the Year 12 outcomes data. It’s important to remember that the data published tells parents about the outcomes of one particular year group. While this is useful, it’s just one piece of information parents can use to help inform their decision about a school for their child. Parents can use the data in conjunction with other information schools provide about themselves to help choose a secondary school that meets their child’s individual needs. Families moving to a new area can use the information in Columns 2 and 3 to identify local schools for their children, and use Column 4 to gain an indication of the breadth of curriculum. An indication of whether a school has high or low enrolments can be gained from Column 10. Columns 6 to 9 indicate whether a school focuses on university or vocational pathways or a combination of both for its students. Column 14 shows the percentage of students gaining an OP1-15. This OP range accounts for about 80% of all students offered a tertiary place. Can parents use the outcomes data to find the best school?
There may be a number of schools that meet the needs of parents and their children. The Year 12 outcomes data provides a good starting point for discussions with schools in your community about what is important for your child’s education. Use the information in the table to identify schools in your area that have the characteristics that you value most. Parents can get further information by visiting their school. Our school performed poorly on some of the outcomes measures — should I
send my child to another school?

No. The presentation of a single school outcomes measure in each column hides the range of individual student outcomes. If your son or daughter is achieving well at their school there is no reason to contemplate changing schools no matter what the outcomes data shows. There are many factors affecting students’ achievement, and changing schools is a serious step. If you are concerned about your child’s achievements, you should talk to your school. Your child could equally achieve below your expectations in a school that has reported high level outcomes in many of the measures. If you would like to obtain more information about the specific outcomes of a school, you should contact that school directly.


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