The much-debated Gonski Report into school funding rests atop five faulty assumptions that undermine its effectiveness as an education policy, a new University of Melbourne study has found.

The aptly named What’s wrong with the Gonski Report: funding reform and student achievement concluded that the Report is “significantly flawed” due to its reliance on the relationship between achievement and resources.

The co-author of the research report, Associate Professor Chris Ryan, said that the central assumption that increased resources equates to improved student results has long been proven to be far from watertight.

International academic research in economics and education suggests the effect of additional resources on standardized test scores is, at best, small,” he said.

Associate Professor Ryan also said that the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) used within the Gonski Report to determine base level of funding was equally flawed.

“The approach to determine the SRS did not consider the impact of student background on achievement, and as such can’t guarantee the student achievement targets will be met,” he said.

Other outcomes from the research include:

  • International evidence disputes the notion that a more centralised education systemwill function more efficiently;
  • Discussion over whether the standards and rankings favoured by the OECD are applicable to Australia; and
  • Debate on whether there can be an objective, professional basis for determining the appropriate level of public funding of private schools.

”The Gonski Report offers many valuable insights for school reform  but considering it is being used to chart Australia’s future course on education, it is imperative that fundamental weaknesses within its assertions about funding are illustrated,” said Associate Professor Ryan.