How should we judge which are our best schools?
How should we judge which are our best schools? Think Stock

OP scores tables: Why teachers, authorities hate them

EDUCATION authorities and teachers hate them - the annual OP scores tables.

Yet private schools across the state use the OP success of their students in big marketing campaigns to attract students.

In the week after OP scores are unveiled, full page newspaper ads appear from the top colleges trumpeting the results.

The Courier-Mail has detailed the top schools across the state for students with an OP1-5.

Not surprisingly Brisbane Grammar School had 56% of its 254 2016 students in the elite field.

But it was actually Longreach State High School topping the list with 63%, albeit on a very small number of OP students.

However, as the Courier-Mail rightly acknowledges, parents should urge caution when comparing schools on OP results.

Andrew Laming, who is Chair of the Education Standing Committee, points out the obvious - that top schools actively recruit the 'smartest' kids through scholarships and the like to ensure their ongoing OP success.

"Data showing that schools starting with or recruiting smart children also end with lots of high OPs is meaningless," he said.

The federal MP says it is far better for parents to look at Naplan results in early high school years and see which schools perform unexpectedly well by year 12.

There are plenty of state schools where there has been remarkable improvement.

And there are plenty of public schools where teachers are doing amazing work by transforming kids from a poor economic, family and education background into the engineers, scientists and doctors of tomorrow.

Schools, of course, cannot be merely judged on OP results.

A more accurate measure might be how many students are getting meaningful, rewarding jobs in the real world.

Another measure, also, must be the values our kids are being taught.

Many parents are sending their children to private schools because of the values they are being taught at school.

Values that include community service, tolerance, looking after mates, ethics, morality and faith.

It may surprise some to know that many parents who send their children to private schools, for example, don't go to church, but believe their kids should be taught Christian values or at least face stronger discipline.

Others do so because of bad experiences their kids have had with bullying at state schools.

In the end, it is too simplistic to judge schools based on private vs public or OP scores.

The best research is done by parents talking to other parents, looking at results, visiting the school, talking to teachers and assessing what's best for their child.


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