Another article tells the same story – postcodes predict education performance.

Reading an article in the Australian newspaper this morning (School system fails ‘fairness’ test, as PISA results show learning gap) which show lower academic performance in areas of socio economic disadvantage, rurality and indigenous communities.

Here are some quotes:

It found the literacy and numeracy gap between teenagers from rich and poor families is growing wider.

“In mathematics, low achievers became weaker; high achievers became stronger,’’ the PISA report states.

It found immigrant students in Australia outperformed Australian-born students by a year in maths, and by nine months in reading – even though most spoke English as a second language.

The article also discusses why this affects all sectors public, Catholic and Private schools:

In reading, private schools produced 17 per cent of the top performers – compared to 11 per cent in government schools and 10 per cent in Catholic schools. But private schools are to blame for the biggest drop in long-term results. Literacy achievement in government schools has remained stable, but has fallen 28 points in Catholic schools and 27 points in independent schools – the equivalent of at least a year of learning.

We, at Harvard, are in many ways renaming our Data Wise Improvement Processes to Data Wise Equity in Education. As we head to our Australian Institute later this month in Melbourne, the need for this work has never been more important .

Unlike many professional learning programs school teams who complete our 5 day institute then have a coach assigned to them for a further 8-9 months as they implement a cycle back in their own schools. Some schools find the process so empowering and impactful they pay for a further 12 months of coaching or send a second or third team to an Institute so that the work is fully embedded across their school.

How do I know? I’m a certified Harvard Data Wise coach and work as a teaching fellow at the Institute in Melbourne. In 2023 I coached 5 school teams after the institute from differing settings (primary, secondary and special education) and the feedback and results have been nothing short of inspiring.

So, if your attending this years Institute I welcome you to our family where equity and excellence go hand in hand. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact me ( or contact Harvard direct.

This entry was posted in Assessment, Data Wise Program, Harvard, school, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Another article tells the same story – postcodes predict education performance.

  1. Bill Gilpin says:

    Hi Mark, I look forward to reading your articles and comments on education issues.
    Your latest one reminded me of the work of Richard Teese.
    Richard Teese designed and implemented the student destinations monitoring program, On Track, which surveys all school leavers in Victoria. Teese directs research into the roles of different education and training sectors, including for people at different life course stages. In 2012 he oversaw a longitudinal study of 6,000 adult learners in the community sector in Victoria, examining the economic and cultural benefits of non-award (pre-accredited) courses. He contended that if you gave him a child’s postcode in Victoria, he could accurately predict how they would succeed at school. Students were successful and unsuccessful in particular postcodes not due to their ability but because of lack of opportunities through funding and collective efficacy or high funding and high collective efficacy.

    Your article reminded me of his work’s importance when he raised the point and I am paraphrasing here, ‘Students condemned by their postcode.’ This was over 15 years ago! Very little has changed since his work in the 2000s.
    All the best for the year,

Interested in your thoughts