Federal Government in squabble over My Schools lookalike

The creator of a report similar to the My Schools website has angrily refuted claims by the Federal Government that it is misleading customers.

Melbourne entrepreneur Stephen James Vassil, director of AustraliaSchoolRanking.com, was issued a letter by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) demanding it stop selling its $97 Australia School Ranking report or face legal action.

Vassil told Computerworld his report provides “an interpretation” of data collated from the My Schools website, but not available in a condensed format. He said his report contains analytical data that the Federal Government “said it would not include”.

He refuted claims by the ACARA that the report contains fallacious data, and said the report is “100 per cent accurate and well researched”.

The ACARA said it took action in order to “manage the correct interpretation of [My Schools] data”.

ACARA CEO Peter Hill said the authority is “reassured” that the report will be taken down “by the indication on the website”.

The indication Hill mentioned appears to be the advertisement for a last minute firesale of the report where Vassil has berated the government claiming it “would prefer to hide the current state of the Australian education system from parents rather than try and assist it by using [the] report to improve schools”.

The comment continues: “The report provided the most true view of education in Australia, which will never come from ACARA or the government… this is a sad day for education in Australia”.

The ACARA has rejected the claims.

“ACARA is committed to providing parents with meaningful, contextualised and high quality information about Australia’s schools,” Hill said in an emailed response to Computerworld.

“The Australia School Ranking report includes a substantial number of statistical errors and incorrect data.”

The government last month shored up backend capacity for its My Schools website after it crashed under an influx of more than 9 million hits on its launch.

The website was forced intermittently offline after it received some 290,000 hits within a hour of its 1am launch, and was down and out for many users after it took a massive 2.5 million hits by early morning. The deluge continued as IT support worked to balance the load, with more than 4.5 million hits taken by 2pm that day.

More information on this story to come.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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