Increased Funding not the Answer to Improved Education Outcomes



A Study by the Centre for Independent Studies (https://www.cis.org.au/) shows increased funding for schools is not necessarily key to improvement in school performance. A study of disadvantaged primary schools found that key to making a disadvantaged school into a high achieving one was:



  • school discipline

  • direct and explicit instruction

  • experienced and autonomous school leadership

  • data informed practice

  • teacher collaboration and professional learning

  • comprehensive early reading instruction

School discipline issues in Australia*

According to the PISA school disciplinary climate index - which is based on student reports of disruption in lessons and has a significant association with student science achievement - Australia has one of the worse school systems in the OECD for student behaviour (only five countries are below Australia).

​In contrast, TIMSS and PIRLS data - based on school principal reports - indicate Australian schools discipline is better than the international average, although still with widespread discipline problems and worse than most top-performing countries.

​Student misbehaviour is a significantly larger problem in secondary schools with higher proportions of disadvantaged students in Australia, according to PISA data. Australia's TIMSS and PIRLS results also reveal a clear association between academic performance and primary school discipline, and school discipline problems are worse in schools with more disadvantaged students.

​A 2018 OECD study found that in Australia there was a significant positive relationship between school discipline and the proportion of disadvantaged students who are high-achievers; but not a significant relationship between school resources and high-achieving disadvantaged students. There is also some international evidence for this: research by Macquarie University academics indicated school discipline in secondary schools explains significantly more of the variation in PISA scores (88%) than the level of school funding (12%).

​School discipline - and effective student behaviour management policies - may be even more important than school funding in helping students from low socio-economic backgrounds to succeed.

* Source: Overcoming the Odds: A Study of Australia's Top Performing Disadvantaged Schools by Blaise Jospeh.




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