FAQs

What is My School?

My School is a website that provides information about every school in Australia. This information allows everyone to learn more about Australian schools, and for schools to learn more from each other. Teachers, schools, parents and the wider community can use the data on the site, along with other information, to help make sure every child receives a high-quality education.

 

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Who runs My School?

My School is run by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). ACARA is an independent statutory authority, responsible for collecting and reporting data on Australian schools, along with running NAPLAN (and other assessments) and developing the Australian Curriculum. 

What sort of information is on the My School website? 

My School website provides profile information on each school’s:

  • student population, including
    • the level of socio-educational advantage (SEA) of the school student body
    • the proportion of students with an Indigenous background and students with a language background other than English           
    • student attendance rates.
  • educational outcomes, including
    • the results of NAPLAN testing
    • participation in vocational education and training (VET) courses and school-based apprenticeships and traineeships
    • senior secondary outcomes
    • where available, post-school destinations.

My School provides comparative NAPLAN results for other schools across Australia, which are statistically similar in terms of their student population. Financial data are also displayed for each school. 

What do most people use the My School website for?

Parents and school communities can use My School to understand how their local school is performing over time.

 

Having information on all Australian schools in one location also provides nationally comparable data on students’ performance in literacy and numeracy, as well as contextual information. My School is an additional resource for schools and their communities.

Are all Australia’s schools listed on the My School website?

ACARA reports available data on all registered schools in Australia. Some of the data collected, such as ‘post-school destinations’, are not available for all schools.

How do I find out about schools in my local area?

If you visit the map page for a selected school, you will see that the My School website lists up to 20 government and non-government schools situated closest to it.

 

In a city, these schools may be quite close together; in remote and rural areas, schools may be separated by large distances and the list may contain fewer than 20 schools.

How are senior secondary outcomes reported?

Senior secondary school outcomes are reported for:

  • senior secondary certificate awarded
  • senior secondary school completed
  • post-school destinations.

Post-school destination data are available only for government and non-government schools in Victoria and Western Australia, and government schools only in the ACT and Queensland.

What reporting is done on VET and school-based apprenticeships?

A summary of student enrolment numbers in VET, school-based apprenticeships and traineeships is provided on a school’s ‘VET in schools’ page, where relevant. Primary schools will not display VET in schools information.

 

A school’s ‘VET in school’ page displays the number of course enrolments and qualifications attained by students, sorted by qualification level and industry area.

 

VET information is provided by education authorities in all states and territories. Caveat information is also provided to account for any differences in reporting the VET measures.

Could individual students be identified from information published on My School?

No. ACARA has carefully considered the privacy issues involved when publishing information about school performance on the My School website. Rules have been adopted to suppress publication of information in situations where it could result in identification of individual students.

Does the website publish ‘league tables’, ranking schools by performance?

No. Simple ‘league tables’ that rank and compare schools with very different student populations can be misleading and are not published on the My School website. On My School, you can only compare schools serving similar student populations.

 

Read making a fair comparison

What measures are in place to ensure that school data are reported responsibly?

Education ministers have agreed to rules that support meaningful and comparable reporting of school data and responsible use of this information. These rules include:

  • protection of individual student privacy
  • not publishing comparative data without contextual information
  • publication of confidence intervals, caveats and explanatory notes to ensure accurate interpretation.

What is the index of community socio-educational advantage (ICSEA)?

ICSEA, created by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), is a scale that allows for fair comparisons of Australian school students’ NAPLAN test results.

 

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Why compare schools if they are in different parts of the country?

Research shows that the education and occupation of parents is the most important factor in how well students perform at school. Since the measures of school performance are consistent nationally, then it does not matter if schools from different states are used to compare performance.

 

At the same time, the ICSEA score does include a measure of how remote the school is; therefore, it is less likely that metropolitan schools are compared to regional ones.

 

In addition, using schools across the country helps to find 60 schools that closely resemble your school’s parental background.

How is the ‘Distribution of students’ table used for funding purposes?

The Australian Education Act 2013 instructs that schools with a low socio-economic status (SES) receive a loading to their funding.

 

The measure used to identify students from low socio-economic backgrounds is the socio-educational advantage (SEA) component of the index of community socio-educational advantage (ICSEA), calculated by ACARA.

 

For further information about how the low SES student loading works, refer to the Guide to the Australia Education Act 2013.

 

Why report school financial data on the My School website?

State, territory and federal education ministers, through their Ministerial Council, asked ACARA to report information about each school’s recurrent income and capital expenditure on the My School website.

 

By reporting such information, the My School website allows fair comparisons to be made about schools. School financial data provide valuable information about the context of a school and the resources it has available to deliver educational outcomes to students.

Where do schools get their income from?

Schools have a range of funding sources that vary according to the sector (government or non-government) and, to a lesser extent, the state or territory in which they are located.

 

Government schools receive state or territory and federal government funding and may generate income through private sources such as fundraising, donations and parental contributions through fees. The majority of government school funding comes from the state and territory governments.

 

Non-government schools’ income is sourced from student fees and income from other private sources including fundraising, donations, interest on savings, and state and territory as well as federal government funding.

 

Read more in the ‘Interpreting school financial information document (PDF 125 kb)

 

How are financial data checked for accuracy?

ACARA appointed an accounting firm, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, to provide accounting expertise and advice regarding the method proposed for collection of, reporting on, and auditing of, school financial data.

 

Throughout the annual data collection and prior to the publication of finance data on My School each year, state and territory government departments review their data and update these where appropriate. The Australian Government Department of Education and Training confirms data collected through the school financial statements reconciles with the non-government schools’ audited financial statements. Further, ACARA applies quality assurance data validation checks on receipt of finance data.

How does My School include information on student progress over time?

ACARA has worked with education authorities to develop measures to track student progress over time and represent this in a graphical form on the My School website.

 

As the years of NAPLAN assessment data increase, more meaningful information on students’ progress is reported. Student progress information provides a measure of the school’s influence on its student outcomes – the value schools have added to their students’ learning over the years.

 

Student gain measures show how well the same students at the same school have progressed.

 

These measures present a level-playing field for all schools – from selective schools with students with high levels of achievement, which are already highly proficient, to schools with students with lower levels of achievement, which may be able to demonstrate their students have made large gains while not necessarily achieving at the highest proficiency levels.

 

Student gain measures allow us to see and acknowledge progress at all levels.

Can NAPLAN test results be compared from one year to the next?

Yes. An expert advisory group is responsible for monitoring the reliability of NAPLAN tests between years. A rigorous process of ‘equating’ the tests is undertaken to ensure comparability.

How accurate are school results?

The NAPLAN average score for a school is a very good indication of school performance based on the students who were tested in the school. The greater the number of students tested, the greater the accuracy.

 

The My School website displays statistical confidence intervals around school average scores to indicate the degree of confidence we have in them.

 

Read more in the Reliability and validity of NAPLAN (PDF 125 kb) detailed fact sheet.

How are reliability and validity of NAPLAN ensured?

A range of factors provide confidence about the reliability and validity of NAPLAN assessments and results:

  • Procedures for NAPLAN testing are set out in national protocols for test administration and test administration manuals to ensure the integrity and consistency of the testing process.
  • The tests are constructed using assessment guides and test specifications that show the relationship of the test items to the nationally agreed statements of learning.
  • Draft tests are reviewed by subject specialists, as well as language background other than English (LBOTE), Indigenous and disability representatives within each jurisdiction with respect to curriculum content and potential cultural or other biases.
  • The tests are trialled in each state and territory to ensure the items are age-appropriate and measure the curriculum in the intended manner.

Read more in the Reliability and validity of NAPLAN (PDF 125 kb) detailed fact sheet.