So now Year Ones are to have a new test to determine who has problems.
By this time of the year Grade One teachers have already identified these youngsters and doing all they can to help them catch-up and have success with basic literacy and numeracy skills.
The money to develop this new test could be used to put extra teacher assistants in the classrooms and purchase adequate teaching resources. (Teachers buy their own!)
Australian kids are over-tested and under-taught!
There are problems that results from this over-testing:
- Parents naturally worry about the tests and are concerned the results will affect their children’s futures. According to parents, judgements about who can enter certain private schools are sometimes made using NAPLAN results.
- MANY schools are holding time-consuming NAPLAN coaching sessions for entire classes and teachers who attend our professional development sessions are concerned about this.
- Every time teachers coach kids to pass a test they are not teaching to the needs of their classes.
- Students are really worried- we have so many year 3 children who are really frightened of NAPLAN
- Parents are buying assessments books by the dozen and coaching kids at home. Kids are not getting to play and relax. This leads to stressed kids learning less in classrooms.
NAPLAN has always been a very expensive, ineffective and time wasting stick to try to scare teachers into somehow drilling facts into kids in Dickensian “Hard Times” scenarios.
I had a parent tell me her Pre-Primary son has been identified as at educational risk because he counted to 100 and missed 89 and became mixed up! This is the result of teacher stress reaching out and affecting children.
We taught this particular child with some extra “hands-on” sessions. He had NO problems at all – in fact his maths intelligence was very strong.
We need to regain our sense of perspective and look at what actually DOES work. We say we do this but Finland is a leading light and they have very little testing.
Singapore is known to be a school system that is reliant on rigorous testing but I am regularly asked by my colleagues there why we have SO MUCH testing in Australia- and yet very little effect!
We need to honour and trust our teachers as professionals and give them the resources and help they need to help ALL youngsters reach their potential!