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Closing the emergency facility: Moving schools from literacy triage to better literacy outcomes

O'Mara, Joanne 2014, Closing the emergency facility: Moving schools from literacy triage to better literacy outcomes, English teaching: practice and critique, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 8-23.

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Title Closing the emergency facility: Moving schools from literacy triage to better literacy outcomes
Author(s) O'Mara, JoanneORCID iD for O'Mara, Joanne orcid.org/0000-0003-3511-1125
Journal name English teaching: practice and critique
Volume number 13
Issue number 1
Start page 8
End page 23
Total pages 16
Publisher The University of Waikato
Place of publication Hamilton, New Zealand
Publication date 2014-05
ISSN 1175-8708
Keyword(s) NAPLAN
Literacy education
high-stakes testing
global education
reform movement
Australian schooling
Summary This article focuses on the tensions between national and international testing, educational policy and professionalism for middle school English teachers. I argue that state and federal government(s) are responding to the impact of Australia's falling results on the international testing in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) through the usage of their own testing program, the National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). The publication of NAPLAN results on the MySchool website in a searchable and comparable form has been detrimental to many schools and has pushed these schools into "emergency mode", as they struggle to improve their scores. At the same time, the results from recent PISA examinations reveal extensive inequities in educational outcomes across Australia, as well as some consistent general trends in the Australian data. I use the metaphor of the hospital emergency department to explore this situation. Drawing on Sahlberg's (2011) notion of the Global Educational Reform Movement (GERM), I explore this metaphor becoming a pandemic. I draw on Gillborn and Youdell's (2000) usage of educational triage and cast different and multiple educational professionals playing the role of the triage nurse-the alternate federal and state government education ministers responding to international and state test results in triage; and principals of poor performing schools operating their school as though it is an emergency department; poor literacy results triaged Code Red receiving immediate focus and attention, but "treated" in terms of immediate survival and a focus on basic skills. I argue that the international testing provides better markers for how we are doing as a nation, and what might be done to improve our international standing with respect to our literacy scores. I argue that true gains in literacy and the development of more complex literacy skills are not made through triaging literacy through an emergency department, but through a long-term focus on school redesign.
Language eng
Field of Research 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2014, The University of Waikato
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution noncommercial no derivatives licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30065466

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Created: Mon, 25 Aug 2014, 12:39:25 EST by Joanne O'Mara

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.