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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Education and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Ground-breaking school audits process produces improvements

    Education and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Ground-breaking school audits process produces improvements

    Ground-breaking audits carried out at all Queensland state schools are bringing about significant improvements in school performance, Education Minister Cameron Dick said today.

    Mr Dick said the teaching and learning audits, conducted over the past two years, demonstrated the Bligh Government’s commitment to strengthening Queensland’s education system.

    He said the results of the audits – conducted at 1258 primary, secondary and special schools, schools of distance education and environmental education centres – were being released to the public.

    “From these audits, parents can be reassured that state schools in Queensland are fully focused on continually improving and following world’s best practice,” Mr Dick said.

    “Queensland is the only jurisdiction in Australia that is conducting these audits, which were introduced to give schools a clear picture of their strengths and areas of improvement.

    “The audit process was designed by education experts and implemented by experienced principals, who assessed schools practices across eight criteria.

    “Overall, more than 90 per cent of our schools scored ratings of medium, high or outstanding in six of the eight criteria.

    “While there is scope for improvement, the overall results are encouraging as research tells us that better school practices flow on to improved student outcomes.

    “Through this audit process, schools know which areas to focus on to help provide the best learning environment for their students.”

    As part of the teaching and learning audit process, schools were rated against eight criteria: Improvement agenda; Data analysis; Learning culture; Targeted use of resources; Teaching team; Systematic curriculum delivery; Differentiated classroom learning; and Effective teaching practices.

    They were allocated achievement levels – low, medium, high and outstanding – against each criteria and improvement plans were then prepared, according to the results.

    “Each of Queensland’s state schools participated in these teaching and learning audits in 2010, with 460 of these schools audited for a second time in 2011,” Mr Dick said.

    “The second round of audits revealed significant improvements in many areas.

    “In fact, 77 per cent of schools improved in their second audit.

    “These results are particularly heartening because the audit process means it’s very difficult for schools to achieve a high or outstanding rating – and we make no apology for that.

    “This whole process is about helping empowering principals and teachers to identify areas of strength and improvement, and then work with their school communities to develop improvement plans specific to their needs.

    “This process continues the Bligh Government’s education reform and improvement agenda, which has included the introduction of an extra year of schooling, raising the school starting age, shifting of Year 7 to high school, and establishing five teaching centres of excellence.”

    Mr Dick said Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) had developed the audit tool in partnership with the department and education stakeholders.

    “ACER designed the teaching and learning audit tool based on the latest international best practice,” he said.

    ACER CEO Professor Geoff Masters said the Department of Education and Training’s use of teaching and learning audits drew on research to evaluate and support schools in their implementation of effective teaching and learning practices.

    “Many education systems internationally use only students’ test results to evaluate how schools are performing,” Prof Masters said.

    “A better basis for measuring school performance and improvement takes into account not only student results, but also the extent to which schools are implementing teaching and learning practices that have been shown to lead to better student outcomes.

    “In this respect, the teaching and learning audit process in Queensland has been ground-breaking.”

    Mr Dick said it was important to remember the audits looked at school systems and processes, not student performance.

    “The aim of these audits is to look at how our schools are managing key aspects of their work and what can be done to improve practices that will boost learning outcomes for students.”

    Mr Dick said the State Government was making the results of all teaching and learning audits available to the broader community today.

    “Queensland has the most open and transparent education system in Australia,” he said.

    “By making these results available, parents have access to even more information that can be used to assess the performance of their local schools.

    “We want parents to be active partners in their children’s education and sharing these results helps them achieve this objective.

    “This is part of our broader school improvement agenda in Queensland.’

    Media contact: Minister for Education and Industrial Relations 3237 1000
    28 January 2012