Australian Politics 2019-10-17 15:47:00

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UNSW media release: Year 12 creates too much stress and ATAR scoring ‘unfair'

I have long seen how poor is ideologically motivated research and it is well known that the Left dislike formal examinations so I expected immediately that the research underlying the claims below would be suspect.  It was more than suspect.  It was moronic.  I used to teach research methods and statistics at the Uni of NSW and I would have failed any student who presented anything like that to me as a research proposal.

It is just dishonest.  The answers they wanted were transparent and the respondents duly gave the researchers what was expected.  There were just 3 questions in the survey and all were worded in a way hostile to the existing arrangements.  There was not the slightest attempt at balance or to ask more subtly worded questions.  There were no questions expressing approval of the existing arrangements

In my research career  I had a lot published on the desirability of balanced wording -- wording designed to avoid acquiescent response bias.  And I repeatedly found that many people would agree with both a statement and its opposite.  They tended, in other words, to say Yes to anything in answering a survey.  But you cannot detect that unless you have from the beginning in your survey oppositely worded questions.  The present survey did not.  It is moron stuff that should be ignored.

 I could very easily design another survey with different questions that would come to the opposite conclusions.



On the first day of the 2019 Higher School Certificate exams, UNSW Sydney’s Gonski Institute for Education is releasing new survey findings that show most people want student ability and talents outside of end-of-school exam results to be factors used in determining their university entry ranking.

And two thirds feel the reliance on the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for university entry creates unnecessary pressure on Year 12 students.

These results from a new national survey undertaken by UNSW Sydney’s Gonski Institute for Education come as high school students in most states are about to sit their final exams.

Institute Director, Professor Adrian Piccoli, a former NSW Education Minister, said the UNSW survey results support academic research that suggests relying on an end-of-school series of exams as the primary means to gain entry to a university is not the best predictor of a student’s overall ability, nor are they the most equitable.

Professor Piccoli said: “There is a growing body of work that shows one off exams, which are supposedly meant to measure a student’s whole of school experience, often do not accurately measure their skills, potential or overall ability”.

“Like NAPLAN, the HSC scores are used to measure a very narrow range of student abilities which, under the current ATAR system, creates an enormous amount of pressure for all those involved.”

A total of 80 per cent of all respondents to the Gonski Institute survey agreed university requirements should also consider a student’s ability and talents outside the classroom.

While over 57 per cent say ATAR scores create unnecessary pressure on Year 12 students, that number rises to 75 per cent for people who finished high school but did not do any tertiary study.

Professor Piccoli said: “Schools are also under pressure to ensure their students achieve high ATAR scores. School ranking tables created from Year 12 exam results effect a school’s reputation and this measure doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of education available at schools but rather how their students performed in various tests.”

There are strong connections between achievement in the ATAR and the socioeconomic background of the high school, with higher achievement generally being associated with a higher socioeconomic status (SES).

Professor Eileen Baldry, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Equity Diversity and Inclusion UNSW says: “This inequity associated with ATAR scores and disadvantaged schools poses significant problems for universities in offering places to the most talented students across the country if we just use the ATAR results.

Those with high capability but who come from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly low SES, Indigenous and regional, rural and remote students, are less likely to achieve high ATARs, not because they are not talented but because the ATAR is not a fair measure of their talent and capacity to success at university.

UNSW, like other universities, already has and is working towards further alternative pathways into university that take into account a range of student talent and capability outside of ATAR.”

The release last month of another academic report, ‘Beyond ATAR: a proposal for change’, published by the Australian Learning Lecture supports the Gonski Institute’s findings and urged tertiary education providers to design entry pathways that better align candidates’ interests, capabilities and aspirations with the educational opportunities on offer, and better reflect evidence about the progress and potential of learners.

Press release. Media contact:  Stuart Snell, UNSW External Communications, 0416 650 906 s.snell@unsw.edu.au






Frenzy of shark activity

LIFESAVERS blame a surge of shark sightings and beach closures in north Queensland on the ill-fated decision to remove baited drum lines. Local identities fear the latest spike in shark activity poses a threat to human safety and the tourism industry.

"They need to put those drumlines back in right now," Cairns councillor Brett Olds, a volunteer lifesaver, said. "It's not panic, it's common sense. "Why dice with death?" Eight patrolled beaches have been closed because of sharks at Port Douglas, Cairns, Townsville and Magnetic Island since the removal of drum lines just over 20 days ago. It compares with a total of 15 closures last year in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park waters between Hervey Bay and Port Douglas.

There were a total of 56 beach closures due to shark sightings along the length of the Queens-land coast in 2018. On Sunday, a giant hammerhead shark swam about 10m off the beach through a patrolled area at Yorkeys Knob. About 28 swimmers, most of them. children, had to be called from the water and the beach shut for an hour.

The same day, an almost 3m-long shark was caught by fishers off Palm Cove jetty. Palm Cove Surf Life Saving Club vice-president Rob Pattinson said there was heightened anxiety about the looming shark threat. "We didn't expect to see this increase in shark numbers so quickly," Mr Pattinson said. "We've rarely had to close beaches up here before because of sharks.

"Now we've got big signs up on the lifeguard huts warning of stingers, crocodiles and sharks. Soon, no one will go in the water. "Why not continue with a shark control program that has worked for more than 60 years?"

Last month, a greens group won a court order to stop the lethal shark-control program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

State Government workers were not trained to deal with live sharks, so the drum lines were pulled. Since baited drum lines were introduced in 1962, there's been only one fatal shark attack at a protected Queensland beach. Before that, there were 36 recorded cases of shark attack, and 19 deaths, dating back to 1912.

A Surf Life Saving Queensland spokeswoman said they had no evidence of a direct link between drum line removal and shark sightings.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" 16/10/2019






Unions fear renewable jobs will be low in pay

MILITANT left-wing unions have rubbished "gestures" of transitioning workers from the coal industry and warned of significant exploitation and poor pay in renewable energy jobs.

In separate submissions to an inquiry into future jobs in regional areas, the CFMEU, AMWU and MUA have highlighted a "largely unplanned and unjust" attempt to transition workers out of high-polluting industries.

While citing "widespread acceptance" of the need for a "just transition" to a low-carbon economy, the unions raised doubts the renewable sector could deliver on job promises.

CFMEU national president Tony Maher said dramatically declining domestic coal power generation was "inescapable", but there were few jobs in renewables beyond the construction phase and they tended to "pay worse" and have cases of "significant exploitation".

"The problem that we have with most of the gestures of recent times about alternative futures for coal-power workers and communities (and beyond that for the much larger communities of the coal export industry) is that they are little more than traditional Band-Aid structural adjustment packages, with a shiny 'just transition' marketing label that continues to leave those people far worse off," he said.

The AMWU called for a national energy policy that offered "certainty, support and stability" to ensure manufacturers had access to cheap and reliable energy. "We are an energy-rich resource nation, whether it be natural gas, coal, wind, hydro or solar," the union says. "We cannot afford to squander this advantage and hobble our manufacturing sector with inflated energy costs."

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" 16/10/2019






Why is Australia the target of climate eco-cult?

If you are confused about Extinction Rebellion, fret not. The green dreamers take orders from a higher authority. It is hard for we mere earthlings to understand the transcendent thinking that comes from a direct line to the divine. By divine, I mean the universal consciousness of folk so fried by psychedelic drugs they’re convinced flower power reigns and we’re all going to die if carbon emissions aren’t net zero by 2025.

Birkenstocks and bare feet, white-boy dreadlocks and riverside raves — Extinction Rebellion is protesting like it’s 1999. They’re high on the illusion of their own importance (among other things), but XR is just the latest in a wave of protests with a short shelf life. The movement is limited by its members’ refusal to reckon with reality. Speaking to the BBC, XR co-founder Gail Bradbrook explained how it all began while she was using psychedelic drugs. She took time off after a series of failed protests and got high. Or, as Bradbrook puts it: “I went on a retreat and prayed in a deep way with some psychedelic medicines.”

The last time psychedelic drugs were this political, it was the 1960s. Timothy Leary’s tribe of hippies took advice to “Turn on, tune in and drop out” by staging bed-ins and love-ins. They tried to elevate a fondness for getting high, having sex and napping into a movement. Only the children of the wealthy and the welfare state can get away with such a thin excuse for sloth. When the welfare money ran out, the movement ran aground.

Like drug-addled hippies, XR-ers believe in fantasies of collective consciousness, pacifism and a pre-political state where mother nature is pregnant with an eternal harvest. It’s like a David Attenborough documentary without the kill scene. Set against this utopia is an equally illusory but sinister version of reality where evil white men are killing the Earth with CO2. XR believes it is engaged in a battle between life and death.

Climate activists have spent the past week protesting in low-emission nations of the West while ignoring the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters. Australia’s XR fanboys are yet to explain why they are protesting here when our nation contributes only 1.3 per cent of global emissions. Why don’t they protest against China for producing 27.2 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions? Perhaps they could try locking themselves to the nearest United Nations office for refusing to hold China to account.

XR wants action on climate change and climbing on planes, stopping trains and lying under cars is the road to redemption, ­apparently. The green-left media is lionising XR activists and partial truth is indispensable to the act. Consider the global headlines about the man who mounted a plane in Britain to protest climate change. He was commonly ­described as a Paralympian — a hero of sorts. The fuller truth is that XR’s heroic Paralympian was banned for a doping violation in 2016.

Like all doomsday cults, XR ­believers frame martyrdom as a high calling. Speaking to The Australian, Melbourne Extinction ­Rebellion spokesman Kegan Daly predicted arrests would “100 per cent” rise during the week of protests. While not being pleased about the prospect, Daly praised those “willing to sacrifice their freedom for this cause”.

The development of a will to martyrdom is rarely a good sign, but it is especially problematic among members of groups who share the belief in a doomsday scenario. If XR activists think the world will enter a death spiral after 2025, they have nothing to lose. Already, some appear to be suffering the effects of mass hysteria. Footage from protests has shown activists breaking down, weeping and wailing after chaining or gluing themselves to things. Others have spoken about their despair and despondency about the world coming to an end. As the collective’s emotional state deteriorates, its members seem less willing to consider counterintuitive facts. NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance elucidated the problem by questioning why climate activists planned to target the state’s transport system if the rail network is 100 per cent offset.

The widening gulf between XR theory and reality is a reason the public has begun to turn against the group. Despite professing regret for political stunts that hold up traffic and drain emergency services, climate activists continue to stage them. They are not truly sorry for blocking streets, occupying parks and holding people hostage to hard-left demands because they cannot get what they want by democratic means.

In successive elections, Australians have voted in favour of the Coalition government’s climate change agenda that balances the need for economic prosperity with climate mitigation strategies. They voted in favour of the Paris climate change commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. Voters rejected Labor’s proposal to ­increase the target to 45 per cent because of the potential hit to GDP, estimated at about $472bn. XR’s target of net zero emissions by 2025 would fail at the ballot box.

Without a democratic mandate or a rational plan for conservation, XR activists can only shout and stamp their feet. They use resistance tactics to bypass democracy because they have no hope of implementing their policies by democratic means. Over time, they are becoming more militant and people are tiring of the soap opera. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk upset some Labor colleagues last week by proposing laws to ensure people can go about their lives without protesters preventing their freedom of movement. She wants to stop the use of locking devices. Employment Minister Michaelia Cash suggested the suspension of welfare payments for the activists.

The green doomsters are not sorry for bypassing democracy to get what they want. They are not sorry for putting themselves first and forcing others to clean up their mess. They are unrepentant because they are determined to remake the world in their own image, whatever the cost to the rest of us.

SOURCE 

 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here