New teaching qualification offered at New Zealand university
A new Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) qualification is to be offered at Manukau Institute of Technology, in partnership with the University of Auckland (UoA), from 2007. The university will deliver the degree through MIT. The new diploma has been specifically created to offer those who want to become secondary teachers and who already hold a degree, or its equivalent, the opportunity to study towards this goal. It is a two-year, part-time program designed to enable currently employed applicants to fit the course around their commitments. See MIT media release, 13 November 2006 (scoop.co.nz).
Research centre to open in New Zealand
The Jessie Hetherington Centre for Educational Research is a new, collaborative research centre at Victoria University of Wellington. Projects underway in the Centre include research on the impact of NCEA on student motivation and the quality of teaching research and development in practice. See media release, 10 November 2006 (scoop.co.nz).
Boys have more dispersed results than girls in Queensland Year 12 test
Boys have outperformed girls in the Year 12 Queensland Core Skills Test for the last four years in a row, according to the article 'Boys hold their own', Courier Mail, 14 November 2006. The article cites the 2006 Annual Report of the Queensland Studies Authority, which shows that in 2005, 15.1 per cent of boys received an A compared to 13.6 per cent of girls, and that slightly more boys than girls received B grades. Two per cent of boys received the lowest grade, E, compared to 1 per cent of girls. The figures are available in the report’s Program Review section, p 7.
More student work samples online in New South Wales
The New South Wales Board of Studies has doubled the number of graded student work samples on its website since July. Over 1,000 experienced teachers, working in teams, have helped the Board develop agreed grades for nearly 800 new work samples. More than 11,000 teachers a week have been using the Assessment Resource Centre pages on the Board of Studies website to view students' work samples graded on the five-point scale from A, or Outstanding, through to E, or Limited, in preparation for this year's new student reports. See Departmental media release, 15 November 2006. See also related What's New item, ‘Continuing opposition to A–E reports in NSW, SA’ in this edition.
School to Work Program boosted in New South Wales
The New South Wales Minister for Education and Training, Carmel Tebbutt, has announced a $12.5 million investment to continue the School to Work Program over the next four years. The program helps students in Years 9–12 to make decisions about their future by supporting schools to run a range of programs including work experience and careers counselling. Students also have access to an Employment Related Skills Logbook that enables them to document their skills, collate careers information and develop their resumes for job and course applications. Over the past four years, students have used 400,000 copies of the resource. See Departmental media statement, 13 November 2006.
New school zone warning systems planned for New South Wales
Warning systems for motorists will be installed at 100 New South Wales school zones by the end of the year at a cost of $7.2 million. Seven companies will install one of two different warning systems at the elected school zones. They will then be evaluated over 12 school weeks. See report in The Australian, 10 November 2006.
New approach to technology in South Australian schools
South Australian school students will soon be taking part in new online classroom activities as part of the State’s District eTeacher Program. A series of local online activities are being developed through the three-year program, with the first now available for use. Eighteen eTeachers have been appointed across the State to lead the program and maximise the use of technology in South Australian classrooms. The new approach will build on programs previously offered at the TechnologySchool of the Future at Hindmarsh. The centre’s activities will be refocused next year to deliver teacher training to schools across the State using videoconferencing facilities, and the centre’s student programs will now be offered in schools. Nine staff members will become part of a team delivering technology programs across the State, helping to take programs out of Adelaide to reach more students in country and remote schools. See Ministerial media release, 15 November 2006.
Commonwealth Bank Foundation announces results of 2006 Australian Financial Literacy Assessment
The Commonwealth Bank Foundation today announced the results of its nationwide 2006 Australian Financial Literacy Assessment (AFLA) of 50,000 secondary students, and the assembly of an advisory council comprising leading young Australians to help address youth financial literacy issues. Fifty-thousand Year 9 and 10 students from more than 500 schools across Australia took part in the assessment. The results revealed that while 87 per cent of 15 to 17 year olds have mobile phones and 14 to 18 year olds are the heaviest users of SMS messaging, these age groups have difficulty calculating the everyday running costs associated with mobile phone ownership. Nevertheless, the participants displayed relatively strong knowledge of consumer issues such as security measures for online transactions and the conditions under which they are entitled to a refund of a purchase. See media release, 14 November 2006.
Remote Indigenous community gets broadband in Northern Territory
The remote community of Yuendumu, 300 km north of Alice Springs, is to acquire broadband access via Telstra's ADSL and Next G services. It will be the first Indigenous community in the Northern Territory to do so, according to the report 'Surfing, broadband reaches the desert', Northern Territory News, 16 November 2006, p 6.
Continuing opposition to A–E reports in NSW, SA
Parent and union groups continue to oppose the introduction of A–E report cards in South Australia. See articles 'Parents revolt over new grades system', 11 November and 'Legal fight over union ban', 14 November 2006, in TheAdvertiser. See also media release, 13 November 2006, by the AEU South Australian branch. The Teachers Federation in New South Wales is also maintaining its industrial campaign against the introduction of A–E grading in student reports. In addition, the union has proposed that the compulsion on primary teachers to enter individual comments on each student's performance should be limited to the areas of literacy and numeracy. It argues that teacher comments in other primary subjects may be repetitive, and the need for them should be determined at a local level. See recent media releases in the Latest News section of the Federation's website. See also articles in the Daily Telegraph, 'Teachers refuse comments on reports', 15 November and 'Parents want the whole report', 16 November 2006.