By KATE HUNTER
Next week two of my three kids will sit the NAPLAN tests, and I couldn’t care less.
Seriously, if the testing was done and I wasn’t informed of my kids’ individual results I wouldn’t be bothered at all.
But I seem to be alone in my ambivalence. There are NAPLAN preparation books on sale at Coles, and parents are saying no to birthday parties and soccer camps this weekend so their kids are ‘fresh’ for the tests. Teachers are pulling their hair out and private tutors are raking in the cash.
My understanding is the test was introduced so the government would have accurate information about which schools need more resources. Who’s falling between the cracks? How are ten year old kids in north Queensland doing compared to ten year olds in western Sydney?
The concept of a standardised test is a great one, in my opinion. That’s stuff administrators and legislators need to know. No problem at all with my kids sitting the tests.
It’s how the results are being used that burns my crumpets.
Because from where I sit, it’s being used as (a) a cheap selection tool for private and independent school principals and (b) fuel for people to feel either smug or ashamed about how their kids’ school ‘performs.’
Over the past couple of years I’ve applied for places at 5 independent schools for my kids. Every one asked for NAPLAN results to be supplied. A couple did not even ask to interview us or meet our kids.
It seems they’re using NAPLAN as a cheap, easy way to choose the best and brightest. It’s that and the usual old boy / old girl network and a family’s ability to pay the fees.
The last two I think are fair enough, they’re businesses after all, but asking for NAPLAN results is wrong because it’s not what the tests were designed for. If a school wants to select academically, fine, but they should do their own testing.