Lifting the performance of New South Wales (NSW) students in literacy, numeracy and other key outcome areas to world-class standards is a central priority of this Government.The crucial responsibilities, shared between schools and the system, for effective educational provision are articulated in the most recent Framework for School Development and Accountability for NSW government schools.The role of 108 very senior officers, School Education Directors, recently appointed to regions across the state, is to ensure the effective implementation of this framework.The aim is to consolidate and focus existing accountability, improvement and reporting policies to improve and enrich student outcomes. Essential to this framework is the vast store of information available within the system and its schools on student outcomes: academic, social and affective. Accessing, managing, analysing and interpreting this store of information are tasks fundamental to the success of the Department, its schools, and for high quality provision for the students in their care. Significant challenges have been overcome through the development of state-ofthe- art information and communication systems (ICT) that bring complex data to the finger tips of staff in schools and regions in highly usable forms. An outstanding example is the School Measurement, Assessment and Reporting Toolkit (SMART) that facilitates the gathering, monitoring, analysis and reporting of data in NSW public schools. This paper looks at the strengths of the SMART package, its role in engendering educational progress in NSW and the plans the Department has for its future development.The paper will describe how SMART can play a crucial part in striking a balance between internal and external assessment, and between assessment for instruction and assessment for accountability.
Smith, Max, "Data for schools in NSW: What is provided and can it help?" (2005).