August 2017 – Australian Public School Information

Monthly Archives: August 2017

More Cheating In Our Schools

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More examine papers got stolen in a different school according to this article Exam security breach forces HSC trial exams at Sydney school to be re-sat on SMH. This thing just never dies and I am surprised given the importance of HSC and related examines, these are the first instance I heard in Australia in my “limited” lifespan.

In the latest theft, an unnamed high school in the Ryde area has contacted parents to tell them that the serious security breach, which is believed to involve test papers being photographed using a smartphone, has meant that some students will need to redo their HSC trial exams.

This is precisely what I said what could happen, with the advent of smart phones, everybody essentially got a spy camera in their pocket. Why take the papers, just photograph them and it will serve the same purpose without leaving the obvious evidence. With the how the modern society becomes even more competitive, I expect more not less of this type of things to happen.

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Good Schools Drives The Local Property Price

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I am sure this is not something new to most of your guys. Traditionally school is the top item for any parents when they consider purchasing properties. This phenomenon is mostly restricted to public schools as top schools tend to have very strictly restricted catchment or intake area. In the last few years, properties within the desirable school catchment compare to ones that are just out can command difference in price of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There was an article discussing this exact same thing about parents buying into the St Ives North Public School catchment to ensure a position for their children. This is happening all around Sydney and rest of Australia, not just this particular school. However investing properties just based on current school catchment is a rather risky business, schools can close, new schools can open and result in a change of existing catchment, catchment can shrink due to enrolment pressure etc.

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Cheating In Australian Schools

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In my personal experience cheating in Australian school is relatively rare when compared to some other countries. One of the reason is due to culturally and historically there is less emphasis on the importance of exams in someone’s academic and career progression. This a complex issue, so there is no one reason as to why one cheats and how prevalent it is. Most of the time it is done on the individual level and on fairly low-level stuff. So it is surprising that on the news that trial HSC Physics paper has been stolen from Sydney’s Scots College, consider that trial examinations will be a big percentage of school mark, this actually is a big deal. Not to mention there are other tests stored in the same cabinet as well and 400 plus other school uses the same test as well, so potentially they could all be compromised as well. It is trivial these days to just taking photos of all the papers which would only take minutes to complete.

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There is an interesting article Why fewer girls are studying economics on SMH by Jessica Irvine who wrote a lot of excellent stuff.

Since 1992, the number of year 12 students taking economics has declined by almost 70 per cent, from 40,000 to closer to 10,000.

Instead, students are taking up “business studies” with gusto. Why? According to the head of the Reserve Bank’s information department, Jacqui Dwyer: “Business studies is widely perceived as a more employable subject than economics, is less demanding for students to learn and is easier for educators to teach.”

While 25 years ago, high school economics classes were evenly split by gender, today there is just one female economics student for every two males. The decline in female economics enrolments is most pronounced in co-ed and non-selective schools.

I think the key takeaway should be students tend to gravitate to subjects that are easier to do and more rewarding in marks. The recent discussion with studying lower difficulties math will actually reward you with higher marks is a very good example of this problem. This can be addressed by properly scaling for the subjects in question. Would also be interesting to see what subjects are the all the girls studying now. This would shed further light on what exactly is happening.

Economics is very important to our modern society, however, if you are read up all the news and analysis, then apply your own thoughts to it, you likely do just as well on many economic topics as most of the economists. School particularly high school need to teach our children how to learn, which will impart a life long benefit. As my father had repeated over and over to me, the most important thing you learn in school is not this or that particular pieces of knowledge but is how to learn and acquire more knowledge by yourself. He turned out to be dead right in this particular case at least in my personal experience anyhow.

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NAPLAN And HSC

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2017 is the first year that in NSW, the government will require year 9 students to obtain at least a NAPLAN band 8 or higher in three areas – reading, writing and numeracy to qualify for their HSC. If they fail to achieve band 8 in all three areas, they will have to pass an online test in the following years in order to qualify for HSC.

This year close to 70 percent students in year 9 failed to hit the above mentioned score. So will have to sit in additional online tests if they want to qualify for HSC. Some interesting points, not all year 9 students will end up sitting for HSC three years later, I did a blog a while ago and I think HSC completion rate in NSW is something like 70 percent. We can likely to assume most of the student that reached the band 8 for all three area will be the ones that go on and complete their HSC. So in fact, if you subtract the 30 percent from the total in fact close to 60 percent of student that eventually complete their HSC do not have to sit for additional tests. So as you can numbers can be deceptive sometimes.

Another interesting thing is that NSW got a pretty decent bump in result this year and one of the possible main contributing facts possibly is due to this requirement. NAPLAN tests previously do not matter at all, so not surprising many students do not sit for it or try for it.

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Arson Attacks In Australian Schools

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There was a possible arson attack on Marsden High School in Sydney, see Police investigate whether Sydney school was targeted by arsonists in news.com.au.

POLICE are investigating a suspected arson attack in Sydney that has caused serious damage to a high school.

Emergency services extinguished the blaze after being called to Marsden High School on Winbourne Street at West Ryde just after 1am this morning, but not before it caused significant damage to a building.

The fire began in the science block and quickly spread to several other classrooms, Channel 7 reported. Fire crews rushed to the scene after receiving dozens of triple-0 calls from nearby residents who could see thick smoke pouring out the windows.

A crime scene has been established and forensic crews will examine the site later today. Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Unfortunately, this is by far not a rare occurrence in Australia. The high school I attended got its school hall burned down previously and while I was there the toilet block burned down as well. Both occasions due to an arson attack and the guilty party were never caught in both instances. We had to deal with portaloos for most of the year, it was not very pleasant experience, to say the least.

One of the reasons that many NSW schools were completed blocked off with security fences is due to possible arson attacks. This cost a lot of money to put in and maintain which could be used for something else. Any of your guys had the similar experience as well?

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