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  • Writer's pictureJOE WOODWARD

Statistical Insanity in ACT Education

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

Heartbreaking statistical stabbing of students in their hearts via the ACT Senior Educational System

While the ACT senior Education system prides itself on having the best outcomes in the country, there is a dark underbelly that most people are probably unaware of ... Did you know it is statistically almost impossible for two students doing the same exam, with the same marker but from different schools or cohorts to get the same score for exactly the same results on a test? Even with the SAME PERSON MARKING! Suppose both students from different cohorts got 79%. Once the consideration of the cohorts and school group are considered in scaling, the same students would receive vastly different results. One may receive 85% (for example) while the other receives 60%. The ACT educational statistician will find all sorts of statistical reasons why this is satisfactory and even obligatory. Are most parents aware of this as their children are sent off to various schools? Does this figure into their voting patterns when electing governments on educational grounds?

IF you doubt my assertion, then check it out with the BSSS. They will give you a round-about way of saying yes it is correct ... then they will add "BUT" ... AND ... the statistician will explain why it is necessary for the poor bugger whose score goes from 79% to 60% is a statistical necessity for the common good ...

In such a case, the statistician cannot blame teachers for marking the poor bugger with the 60% or elevating the "good" student to 85% when the teacher gave both students 79%. However, in most instances where scores drop in the scaling process, the teachers are blamed for marking too easily or for setting tasks which don't appropriately measure real academic skills. School Administrators might also be blamed for getting some aspect of this system slightly wrong in the estimates of averages.

The indicator of a student's worth is only partially determined by their actual output and results. The final outcome is determined by statistical algorithms that have little to do with the reality of their assessment.

If you doubt this, then let's look at a specific example.

A student of Performing Arts where there is a total cohort of 19 students receives a final score from his teachers of 58%. His grades and scores for his individual assessment tasks were slightly below those received in his English classes which scaled within range of his actual achievements. But he came out with a 58% score that might have been higher except he blundered in one of the assessment tasks. The 19 students were subject to statistical scaling around a fairly low mean score; however many did well and improved on their previous scores meaning that the mean for the group was well above what historically had been allocated for these 19 students. Now, our 58% student who scored slightly less in his tasks than he did in English has his score scaled down to 29%.


29% on his report card! 29% less than most notional zero scores! 29% for a student who actually did something and contributed a competent and at times a very significant level of work. 29% ??? and of course it is the teachers' fault for marking the group too easily ... Yet almost all the scores on each task were less than the scores given to the same students in English with a larger cohort ... This might well be a fictional story! However it says it clearly what is happening in the ACT. Small cohorts are decimated. Small group moderation isn't allowed any more.

Imagine you are that student in that family and you have 29% on your report card when your teachers gave you around 60% ??? This is statistical stabbing in the heart of students by a heartless and Dalek inspired reductionist system that ignores the person in favour of a number.

Trinculo 24 November 2022


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