My School and the ICSEA

I thought that the MySchool website could be a great help when it comes to making a final decision on a fieldwork site, but I cannot seem to find the primary schools from some of the suburbs in which I am interested. Perhaps this is a good indication of the types of disadvantage these suburbs face?

The aspect of MySchool that I am most puzzled by is the use of ‘The Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage‘ . The claim is that using the ICSEA allows for the comparison of ‘apples with apples’. However, we are also told that the ICSEA is ‘measures key factors that correlate with educational outcomes’.

So, we want to rank schools against schools that should get similar results. In a lot of ways this makes sense, if we use what we can to predict what the results should be and they are different then perhaps there is something different happening in the lives of the students or in the school. It seems really sad, although not surprising, that the factors that are used to predict the results are listed as, ‘social and economic background of the students, whether the school is remote, the proportion of Indigenous students.’ The part that made me feel angry is that parents are encouraged to look at the comparisons made against schools with similar ICSEA ranking, thereby suggesting that parents,and our society, should be okay with the impact of these factors.

I suppose there is something to be said for being upfront in factors that affect education, but there is more than a whiff of state sanctioned institutional inequality coming from the logic underlying the My School site.

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2 Responses to “My School and the ICSEA”

  1. Walking in the ‘burbs: urban planning effecting action and naturalising class? « Another student blog Says:

    […] 2008: 437). Yes, this is based on work in Australia and it does seem to have a similar whiff to the application of the ICSEA on the MySchool website […]

  2. Suburbs and Class « Another student blog Says:

    […] I suppose if I want to put ideas about ‘class’ and ‘suburbs’ into a single sentence or question I need to untangle what it is that I am really interested in when it comes to ‘class’. Perhaps it will make more sense to look at the notion of ‘socio-economic status’? Or should I be using something like socio-educational, as this is what the Australian government uses for things such as comparing schools? […]

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