A Principal Speaks Out on NAPLAN

Wednesday October 17, 2012

This is an interview with Kevin Pope, Principal of Meadow Heights PS in Melbourne. The interview was conducted by Lorraine Wilson and Jacinta Cashen for the Say No To NAPLAN group. It is one of several papers recently published by Say No To NAPLAN. The full set of papers is available on the Literacy Educators’ Coalition website. Continue reading “A Principal Speaks Out on NAPLAN”

Targetting East Asian Test Scores Will Bring East Asian Afflictions

The Prime Minister and the Federal education minister have set test scores in East Asian countries as the benchmark of education success. However, East Asian success has come at considerable cost. There is a very real danger that pursuing this new target will inflict Australian education with similar problems and undermine our successful education results.

Several recent media reports confirm that the emphasis on test scores in East Asian countries has brought some very undesirable education and social side effects. Two particular effects are intense parental pressure on children to succeed which leads to many hours of homework and private tutoring and a focus on memorization and rote learning at the expense of thinking skills and creativity. Continue reading “Targetting East Asian Test Scores Will Bring East Asian Afflictions”

Testing is Robbing Children of their Childhood and Health

Reports in the world’s media over the last few weeks have told of the immense burden being placed on young children by school tests in cities as far apart as Beijing, New York and Sydney. There was a common thread to the stories – children being robbed of their childhood and their health suffering because of the emphasis now placed on tests in schools. Continue reading “Testing is Robbing Children of their Childhood and Health”

What NAPLAN Test Prep Has in Common With Trains Skipping Stations

An interesting article was published in The Age last week about Metro Trains, the privately-owned operator of Melbourne’s suburban rail network. Apparently, Metro has resorted to skipping stations and running unscheduled short services in order to avoid being fined for trains running late. Continue reading “What NAPLAN Test Prep Has in Common With Trains Skipping Stations”

Letter of Support from Academics for “Say No to NAPLAN”

Over 100 education academics have signed a letter in support of “Say No to NAPLAN”.

We are a group of Australian academics teaching in universities. As a group we are appalled at the way in which the Commonwealth government has moved to a high stakes testing regime in the form of NAPLAN, despite international evidence that such approaches do not improve children’s learning outcomes. Continue reading “Letter of Support from Academics for “Say No to NAPLAN””

Is This What We Really Want for Education?

Just as students all around Australia participated in the NAPLAN tests last week, students across the United States are also in their testing season. ‘High-stakes’ tests in the US have been in place for over 20 years and they provide a lesson about what we can expect from NAPLAN and My School in the future. The lesson was spelled out in an article in the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog over the weekend. Here are some excerpts: Continue reading “Is This What We Really Want for Education?”

A Mother’s Plea to the Prime Minister on NAPLAN

Dear Prime Minister,
I have a six year old son. He loves dinosaurs, and is currently obsessed with a Praying Mantis he found in the back yard. Like most kids, he is funny, exhaustingly active and has a mind like a sponge, soaking up learning in a fun and imaginative journey.

When he is old enough (and if it is still around), he will not be taking part in the Naplan testing and I will do anything I can to inform other parents about the limitations of this testing. Continue reading “A Mother’s Plea to the Prime Minister on NAPLAN”

ACARA Ignores Evidence on Teaching to the Test

Barry McGaw, chairman of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), says that claims that NAPLAN is creating test-driven schooling are “nonsense” (The Age, 7 May 2012). Yet, the national education ministers’ council is so concerned about excessive test preparation and the narrowing of the curriculum that it recently commissioned ACARA to investigate and report on it. Continue reading “ACARA Ignores Evidence on Teaching to the Test”

Schools Off-Load Low Achieving Students to Boost League Table Ranking

Low achieving students are being off-loaded by schools in England in order to boost their league table rankings according to a report published by the think-tank Civitas last month. It found that low achieving students with bad behaviour are more likely to be transferred than higher achieving students with bad behaviour. Continue reading “Schools Off-Load Low Achieving Students to Boost League Table Ranking”

The Release of More Cane Toads

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Cane beetles were a nuisance in our sugar fields and the USA offered help. In Hawaii there were some toads that liked eating beetles. If something comes from the U.S.A, dutiful Australia is obliged to copy, so 102 USA-bred cane toads were turned loose at Gordonvale way up north.

Since no one had thought any further than the beetle-eating stage, things didn’t turn out so well. No one had measured how high the little darlings could jump…not high…and the beetles survived.

Continue reading “The Release of More Cane Toads”