Changing the length of the school day and employing master teachers are among the solutions the Productivity Commission has put forward to improve the performance of Australia's education system.
Australia is spending more than ever per student on education and yet national literacy and numeracy achievement is stagnating.
A new report by the Commission investigates why this problem exists and what can be done across the school and higher education system to solve it.
One in five Australians have low basic skills, impacting on their job opportunities, capacity to learn further skills and wages.
Productivity Commission deputy chair Dr Alex Robson said the while spending had grown, Australian students' results were not improving.
"One of the issues could be that the best practice is not becoming common practice," Dr Robson said.
"So diffusing what works and, just as importantly, what doesn't work in the classroom in different circumstances, that's one of the things we focus on."
The report said classroom teachers spend much of their working time on low-value administration tasks that could be reduced or reassigned to support staff.
Technology also has a role in relieving this burden and improving student outcomes but it needed to be introduced carefully.
"It's not a silver bullet... there's a digital divide where some schools have access to the technology and others don't, but then also in terms of how it's used and what's more effective in different circumstances," Dr Robson said.
An increase in the numbers of support staff and lower student-to-staff ratios don't appear to have had any impact on student results.
The report suggests improving consistency of professional development for teachers and employing master teachers to spread best practice teaching across schools.
It also suggests trialling more radical changes, such as extending the length of the school day or adopting the United Kingdom's model of academy schools to improve under-performing public schools.
"Maybe some of these more forward-looking ideas are possible solutions, but we're definitely not saying that that's the exact answer," Dr Robson said.
The report also suggests a HECS-style system for vocational education could reduce some of the up-front costs and disincentives for students to go down that path that could be more appropriate for their career ambitions compared to university.
The commission was highly critical of the changes to university course fees under the Coalition's job ready graduates reforms, stating that price signals for in-demand fields didn't work under the income-contingent loan system.
The commission is seeking feedback on the report by October 21 and will hold roundtable discussions.
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