Shuffling NAPLAN’s Deckchairs

We’re late to this, but it’s gotta be done. Some State education ministers, unhappy with NAPLAN, commissioned a review, which appeared a couple weeks ago. The Review considers many contentious aspects of NAPLAN, but we’ll focus upon “numeracy”, NAPLAN’s homeopathic proxy for mathematics. We’ll leave others to debate “literacy” and the writing tests, and the […]

PoSWW 12: They is Bach

There’s much we could write about Matthew Bach, who recently gave up teaching and deputying to become a full-time Liberal clown. But, with great restraint, we’ll keep to ourselves the colourful opinions of Bach’s former school colleagues; we’ll ignore Bach’s sophomoric sense of class and his cartoon-American cry for “freedom”; we’ll just let sit there […]

WitCHes in Batches

What we like about WitCHes is that they enable us to post quickly on nonsense when it occurs or when it is brought to our attention, without our needing to compose a careful and polished critique: readers can do the work in the comments. What we hate about WitCHes is that they still eventually require […]

The Slanted Tower of PISA

Here’s an interesting tidbit: PISA‘s mathematics testing doesn’t test mathematics. Weird, huh? Who knew? Well, we kinda knew. Trustworthy colleagues had suggested to us that PISA was slanted, but finding out the extent of that slant, like lying-on-the-ground slant, was genuinely surprising. (We’re clearly just too optimistic about the world of education.) Not that we […]

A Quick Message for Holden and Piccoli

A few days ago the Sydney Morning Herald published yet another opinion piece on Australia’s terrific PISA results. The piece was by Richard Holden, a professor of economics at UNSW, and Adrian Piccoli, formerly a state Minster for Education and now director of the Gonski Institute at UNSW. Holden’s and Piccoli’s piece was titled ‘Back […]

Obsessive Compulsion

Last week, the New South Wales government came out with the next great plan to Save Mathematics Education: make mathematics compulsory up until the end of high school. Why? According to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, this will “ensure students have the numeracy skills required to succeed in today’s society”. Yes, of course. In exactly the same […]

We was Robbed

ACARA‘s CEO Rob Randall will be stepping down, which allegedly has nothing to do with ACARA’s latest stuff up. It probably also has nothing to do with ACARA under Randall having implemented a truly awful curriculum and a truly awful “numeracy” test, nor with ACARA having been a cabal of secretive and unaccountable clowns. But […]


A new report has concluded that ten years of NAPLAN have done nothing to improve Australian students’ numeracy standards. In other stunning news, a century of climate scientists measuring that it’s getting kinda hot apparently hasn’t solved global warming.