Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Standardised testing in Australia ( NAPLAN)

Selected NAPLAN ( Australian standardised testing year 3,5,7,9) commentary in the Melbourne Age 15/05/13

'Parents should be aware that a quality report by a professional teacher encompassing a range of measures over time, preferably accompanied by a face-to-face discussion, is a far better indicator of student capabilities than a NAPLAN report.
Evidence of the damage of test-based accountability regimes is clear in the US and the UK. Subjects not tested, such as history and art, are marginalised and even those tested narrowed to improve test results. There is also evidence that such regimes create incentives to exclude students who some schools perceive as liabilities, further increasing educational segregation and inequity.
Here in Australia, NAPLAN is increasingly unpopular with teachers, creating as it does an incentive to value test results over the long-term educational wellbeing of our students.
High standards of literacy and numeracy are a fundamental responsibility of schools and teachers. However, there is little evidence that testing accountability regimes such as NAPLAN improve these areas.
On the contrary, countries that rank above us in PISA, such as Finland and Canada, take a very different approach, emphasising a broad creative curriculum, equity and a high degree of teacher trust rather than the test-based model prevalent in the US and the UK. Both the latter countries fall well below us in PISA, and it is ironic that they, rather than those nations that do better, have served as models for change here.'

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