NAPLAN and your child

by User Not Found | Feb 23, 2016

NAPLAN and your childIn May students in years three, five, seven and nine sit their NAPLAN (National Literacy and Numeracy Assessment program) tests. 

NAPLAN testing was introduced in 2009 to provide information to parents, schools, the community and government. 

NAPLAN results are provided to parents as individual results for their child signalling areas of student strength and weakness. Parents can also compare how their child is performing against children at the same school and national school averages with this information published on the myschool website. 

However there has been lots of debate and discussion about how effective NAPLAN tests are, the pressure put on students and teachers and whether the results a true reflection of a student’s learning ability.

ASG believes that while literacy and numeracy are key components of schooling, NAPLAN testing presents only a narrow frame of reference on a child’s progress and on school performance. Over emphasis on testing can be detrimental to a child’s literacy and numeracy development and love of reading, writing and mathematics.

The first edition of the ASG Parents Report Card examined how parents’ perceptions of their child’s education related to their child’s most recent NAPLAN scores. 

The analysis revealed parents’ perceptions of their child’s knowledge and skills were the largest predictor of all NAPLAN scores. This indicates that parents are fundamentally concerned about their children’s subject knowledge and ability to apply it in a test situation like NAPLAN.

ASG also believes education is constantly challenged by developments in technology, knowledge about learning, curriculum content and school organisation. 

Tasmanian primary school teacher and ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEITA) recipient, David Gilkes, says there is too much emphasis on standardised testing. 

“One of the things we’ve got very hung up on in our society is the idea that things need to be measured to define success. I think words like success and quality are almost explosive words because how do you measure teachers’ relationships, how do you measure children’s values, how do you measure creativity and the things that are not easily measureable.

 “So the message I’d like to give parents is don’t have that emphasis on children needing to know this, this, this and this—have some faith that children are competent, they’re creative, they’re capable and  they need skills that are transferrable to a multitude of contexts—not things that are just test score results,” said Mr Gilkes. 

On the opposite side of the fence, the CEO of ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority), Robert Randall recently wrote an opinion piece titled, ‘NAPLAN is a vital tool to see children are meeting essential standards’.

He said that NAPLAN is also about providing information to the general community. 

“Not knowing this type of information doesn't benefit anyone. Denying access to such important information doesn't help students and it doesn't work for the community.

If students, either individually or sub-groups, can't read, write or understand numbers to a minimum standard, this has negative impacts right through their life. Ignorance of a student's abilities, strong or weak, in literacy and numeracy cannot be considered appropriate policy or strategy.”

Do we put too much emphasis on standardised testing or is NAPLAN a vital tool that measures how children are meeting essential standards? What do you think?

Key dates for NAPLAN 2016

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