Students to get identifiers ASAP

Julia Gillard said today at the National Press Club that the government would introduce a 'unique student identifier' across Australia "as soon as possible".

Julia Gillard said today at the National Press Club that the government would introduce a 'unique student identifier' across Australia "as soon as possible".

Julia Gillard

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard
(Credit: Australian Labor Party)

Linked to the My School program, individual student identifiers will be used to track students' results across grades and schools as they progress through primary and secondary education.

The deputy prime minister told ABC National Radio this morning that "proper privacy protections" would be implemented, with access given to parents and teachers.

Gillard told attendees at her speech today that identifiers would be used, "to track progress systematically, to focus on the progress made by each student, and to evaluate the performance of schools and teachers with full rigour."

"That's why we need a single number that will remain with a student throughout their schooling so we can ensure that each student's individual improvement, or where they are struggling, can be accurately followed across schools, systems or states," she said

The deputy prime minister, however, also stated that she believed comparisons of student results from 2008 and this years' National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests could be done without the identifiers.

"I have asked [the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority] ACARA to identify how, before the introduction of a unique student identifier, we can use existing records to measure the progress of students from year to year in the existing national testing data."

"With the cooperation of education authorities, and without identifying individual students, it should be possible to link national testing records so that student progress can be identified from year to year once the 2010 national tests have been taken," she said.

Students in years 11 and 12 are already assigned state identification numbers for the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or equivalent.

Though, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has panned Labor's plans in Canberra today. "I think that children should have names, not numbers and I'm concerned about any proposal that seems to commodify our kids," he told reporters at a doorstop interview.

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