A tool that tracks student NAPLAN scores and household income and unemployment rates across NSW found that some of the best-performing areas in Sydney actually have low-to-medium income levels, and some of them are the areas with the most Chinese population. (Image source: Piqsels)
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) developed the Gonski Data Lab tool to track the performance of students in different suburbs and towns in the NAPLAN exam.Tracking results show that although the household income in Hurstville, a Chinese district on the south side of Sydney, is less than A$1800 per week, the grades of third-year students in the area are as good as the children in the wealthy Turramurra and Hunters Hill areas.
The average income of Byron Bay has increased by A$800 in ten years, but the NAPLAN scores of local children have declined. This is obviously at odds with the traditional idea that economic advantages will bring better educational results.
The household income of Dover Heights in the affluent district of the eastern suburbs is A$2900 per week, but the grades of its third-year students are the same as those of students from Bathurst and Ballina, whose household income is no more than half of Dover Heights.
It is reported that UNSW uses this tool to study the impact of society on children’s school performance.The findings are based on the suburbs, not on schools or departments. Adrian Piccoli, Professor of Educational Practice at UNSW, said that this allows researchers to study more deeply the influence of parents' attitudes towards education, the impact of industries that provide the most jobs in towns, and community expectations.
"Comments surrounding educational performance will inevitably involve what happens in schools, courses and school facilities, but in fact, it is more influenced by parents and the community." Piccoli said.
It is reported that some of Sydney’s best-performing suburbs have low-to-medium family incomes, but residents there are new immigrants who value education, such as the Chinese areas of Carlingford and Hurstville.
The income of families in Goulburn is higher than that in Ulladulla, but their performance is significantly behind the latter.
Piccoli also said: "Why is Cabramatta with a large Southeast Asian population better than North Shore? It's not because of how much money the school has, or how good the teachers are. The teachers in North Shore may be better than you see anywhere. This Research is not about providing solutions, but a different way of looking at problems."
According to reports, the website uses the school-based data of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Agency (ACARA) and the socio-economic data of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to combine various departments to include independent schools, Catholic schools and public schools.But it does not take into account the situation of students going to school in different regions, which is why the data of primary schools are more reliable, because students are most likely to stay in the district to attend school.
Richard Holden of UNSW said that the Gonski Data Lab is the beginning of a larger research project aimed at understanding the community factors of student performance.
Craig Petersen, the head of the school principal committee, praised the study for "prescribing the right medicine."He once worked in a rural school, where performance has always been comparable to top schools in the city, and he owes not only excellent teachers, but also the influence of nearby scientific research institutions.
"There are no children of scientists in the local area, but the yearning and appreciation for higher education has permeated the town. I agree (look at the social impact) is right, I agree that there are many factors outside the school, and there are huge differences between different communities."
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