A program in which every school child in Australia would be given an identity number so their academic progress could be tracked through their school life is expected to be announced by the federal government as early as today.
The Herald understands the number, to be known as a ”unique student identifier”, will be annexed to the My School program, which publishes the performance of individual schools on the internet.
The number would allow the performance of individual students in each of the core subjects to be monitored for the duration of their school life so their progress could be measured.
The Education Minister, Julia Gillard, is expected to announce the proposal in a speech today at the National Press Club where she will also canvass a draft of the new national curriculum to be released next Monday.
The curriculum, a plank in the government’s so-called ”education revolution”, will apply to maths, English, history and the sciences and be taught at all schools, starting next year.
The ”unique student identifier” is expected to cause controversy and raise privacy concerns.
A senior source said strict privacy provisions would restrict its use to those who needed the information, such as parents. Protections would be built in to stop third parties being able to identify students.
The My School website is updated once a year and grades each school on its NAPLAN performance in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy for years three, five, seven and nine. Parents are sent the NAPLAN test results for their child each year.
The new identity number would allow parents and other concerned parties to access a database documenting the child’s performance throughout their time at school, regardless of how many schools they attended and whether they shifted interstate.
A student’s strengths and weaknesses could be monitored and addressed as their education progressed.
It is understood Ms Gillard will promote the measure as another way of ensuring maximum school performance. She may also signal the extension of the My School program to year 12.
A source said the identity number would be introduced after the next round of NAPLAN tests in May, possibly before the federal election.
Its implementation will be overseen by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.
Teacher unions, which oppose My School, are threatening to boycott the tests this year.