Media Release

Newsroom Releases 2013 October Time to act on maths science in schools

15/10/2013
Time to act on maths science in schools
The Menkens Parliamentary inquiry into senior maths and science assessment in Queensland schools has vindicated criticisms of the Queensland Studies Authority, Professor Peter Ridd said.

Oct 15, 2013: - The Menkens Parliamentary inquiry into senior maths and science assessment in Queensland schools has vindicated criticisms of the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA), Professor Peter Ridd said.

Professor Ridd, head of physics at James Cook University, has been a longtime critic of the QSA’s assessment methods.

“The Menkens Inquiry report released on Monday has finally revealed that Queensland has big problems with its assessment and teaching of senior Science and Mathematics,” he said.

“It is probable that similar problems occur right through the school system at all years, in all subjects, and in private and public schools. The root cause is the QSA and its trendy education theories.

“Its experiments on Queensland children have been shown to be an abject failure,” Professor Ridd said.

The Queensland Government commissioned the Parliamentary inquiry into senior maths and science assessment.

Chaired by Rosemary Menkens, the member for Burdekin, the Parliamentary Education and Innovation Committee handed its report and recommendations to the Government on Monday (Oct 14).

The inquiry lasted seven months and received almost 300 submissions.

Professor Ridd said that along with a large group of concerned parents and teachers, he had has been campaigning for changes for the past five years.

“Some of the evidence that has been heard at the Inquiry has been a revelation,” he said.

“It has shown that Queensland assessment systems are difficult or impossible to understand and implement, open to cheating, excessively time consuming for both students and teachers, and disadvantage rural/remote schools, and schools in lower socio-economic areas”.

“One particularly strange aspect of the Queensland system is that marks are effectively banned in Queensland schools and that teachers must make an ‘holistic’ judgment to come up with the final grade rather than just adding up the marks

“In addition, there is far too much emphasis on extremely long writing tasks in subjects such as Maths and Physics and these subjects have become de-facto English classes.”

Professor Ridd said that the Menkens Inquiry has recommended that marks can be used and that the long writing tasks should be greatly reduced in scope.

“The Inquiry was told by the QSA that Queensland is leading the world in pioneering new methods of assessment but no other jurisdiction in the world has followed Queensland’s example,” he said.

“This peculiar Queensland system is yet another educational fad which will hopefully pass into history”.

Professor Ridd has called upon the Education Minister to act as soon as possible to implement the Inquiry recommendations, which also include an external exam.

“The time for review is over, it’s now time to Can-Do,” he said.

Contact: Prof Peter Ridd, head of discipline Physics, JCU School of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Peter.ridd@jcu.edu.au 07 4781 5629, 0497 900035

Issued: October 15, 2013

JCU Media Liaison, Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822 or 0418 892449