Innovation, creativity and passion are alive and well in schools throughout Australia. However these are increasingly constrained in a command-and-control approach that is leading to an unprecedented level of centralisation, standardisation and bureaucratisation. The concern of this paper about the impact of current constraints arises from the experience of these same schools and the presenters ongoing assessment of progress in the ‘education revolution’, the centre piece of the federal government’s policy for schools but to which all states and territories are bound through national partnership agreements. As far as the future of the nation is concerned, innovation, creativity and passion – the key requirements for a vibrant society and a successful economy in the years ahead – are in jeopardy if we continue on our present path. The focus in this presentation is on the impact of high stakes testing.
Brian J. Caldwell is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Educational Transformations and Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne where he served as Dean of Education from 1998 to 2004. This paper was presented at a national symposium in Sydney, entitled, Advice for Ministers and ACARA on NAPLAN, the use of Student Data, My School and League Tables.