The education debate

The education debate

10 Mar 2011

The My School website was relaunched last week and there have been concerns with the efficacy of the data on funding. The breakdown of the budget data into state and commonwealth sources serves to clarify longstanding confusion on school funding, says Associate Professor Dr Buly Cardak, School of Economics and Finance.

Test taking‘Funding by the Commonwealth to private schools per student is typically higher than Commonwealth funding to public schools. However, the main source of public school funding is from the state government and the total funding given to public schools is comparatively higher than what is given to private schools,’ says Dr Cardak.

The current debate is likely to focus on whether public funding should be going to private schools at all, even though some private schools have been publicly funded since the 1960’s, as has the debate, says Dr Cardak. The most likely outcome of this debate will be an increase in Commonwealth government funding per student for public schools to an amount closer to the Commonwealth contribution to private schools.

NAPLAN testing results have also been presented on the site which are used to compare schools. This data shows on average how much the students in a school have improved from one test to the next, comparing them to schools with similar students. While there are critics of NAPLAN testing, average results over grades should be informative of typical performance within a school, says Dr Cardak.

‘The My School website presents socioeconomic data in the profile page and when comparisons between similar schools are presented, they are referring to schools with a similar socioeconomic profile. The point of all this is that comparing a school with a low socioeconomic profile to one with a high socioeconomic profile can give a misleading impression of performance,’ says Dr Cardak.

‘Ultimately, we want our students to learn and improve and this is what schools, teachers, families and students should be striving for. The data on student gain can highlight good performance, even among schools with low NAPLAN scores. We should be trying to learn from such cases of good performance and where possible implementing strategies to replicate it,’ says Dr Cardak.

Contact details for Associate Professor Dr Buly Cardak, School of Economics and Finance:

Dr Buly Cardak
03 9479 3419 E:

For more information please contact:

Meghan Lodwick

La Trobe University Communications Officer
T: 03 9479 5353 M: 0418 495 941 E:




La Trobe Media Release RSS