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Jesuit schools take stand to avoid Year 12 comparisons

The headmasters of Australia's Jesuit schools have opposed tables that compare year 12 results, claiming they fail to accurately reflect school performances and could be misleading.

Heads of Australian Jesuit Schools Chairman Fr Greg O'Kelly (pictured) commented on the stand the group took at its recent meeting. The stand - against what is known in the UK as 'league tables' - was prompted by concerns that the system could appear in Australia.

Fr O'Kelly, headmaster of Adelaide's St Ignatius College, said there are concerns that new VCE information to be published by the Victorian Government next month could easily be turned into tables ranking the best to worst performing schools.

He said evidence showed that British league tables were having a damaging effect on schools.

The Victorian Government announced last month that the median VCE study scores for each school, together with the percentage who pass and the proportion of high-performing students at each school will be published for the first time. Victoria is the only state to publish this type of
information, which replaces the controversial VCE Improvement Index.

Fr O'Kelly said the principals wanted to take a stand to help other schools.

"They can't say that about us because our schools do well academically," Father O'Kelly said.

British principals from top-performing government and private schools have this year called for an end to league tables.

Fr O'Kelly said he was concerned that league tables would "entrench intellectual snobbery" and favour selective schools that took brighter students.

The Age

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League tables 'past sell-by date' (BBC)
Saint Ignatius' College | Australian Jesuit Education Conference

18 Nov 2002