Inside the school choice machine1 the public display of national testing data and its stratificatory consequences

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Abstract

Moving beyond assertions about new stratifications in Australian education, we assess the validity of a significant claim about market mechanisms further concentrating class divides through government techniques of choice and the "machinery" surrounding this. The focus is on Australian primary schools, for which we pay particular attention to the My School website, which publishes aggregated school test scores for all Australian schools, a move justified on grounds that parents need these sorts of data if they are to make informed decisions about their educational choices. By interrogating qualitative claims about the intensification of social class concentration in the My School era via analysis of the data offered up by this very site, we bring a certain nuance to the class concentration hypothesis that this literature tends to link to the choice machinery of government. Our analysis does shows trends towards greater socio-economic concentration of schools at the higher and lower ends of the ICSEA spectrum but disaggregated analysis of these trends suggests that My School may in fact be ameliorating these pressures toward socio-economic concentration in primary schools, at least in the 'middling spaces'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-143
Number of pages20
JournalZeitschrift fuer Padagogik. Beiheft
Volume2019-April
Issue number65
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

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