Does Australia need an assessment tool to measure literacy and numeracy achievement in Year 1 classrooms?

The introduction of a National Year 1 Literacy and Numeracy Check has been heavily criticised by the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA) in a position statement. It says that there is an unreasonable over-emphasis on phonics in the new assessment tool. Continue reading “Does Australia need an assessment tool to measure literacy and numeracy achievement in Year 1 classrooms?”

PISA Rankings Are Misleading Because of Differences in Student Coverage

One of the standout performers in the results from PISA 2015 was Vietnam. It achieved a ranking of 8th in science with a score of 525, which was significantly above Australia’s score of 510. More remarkably, only 6% of its students were below the minimum PISA standard compared to 18% of students in Australia. Vietnam had the smallest proportion of students below the science standard of the 72 countries and economies participating in PISA 2015.

However, there seems to be more than meets the eye in these results because over half of Vietnam’s 15-year-old population was not covered by the PISA sample because they were not in school. Continue reading “PISA Rankings Are Misleading Because of Differences in Student Coverage”

A Teacher’s Comment on NAPLAN

Earlier this week the ABC’s Life Matters program ran a segment on parents taking their children out of the NAPLAN tests. It generated considerable discussion. A listener who is a teacher sent SOS this response to the program.

School leaders and systems do use NAPLAN and recognise NAPLAN because it has now become the universal measure across the country because of its official status as a measure and not because it is valuable per se. It would be a concern if teachers relied on NAPLAN as a diagnostic tool and only relied on NAPLAN given the time lag between the test and the results. Good teachers are constantly assessing students in a number of ways but do not rely on a single standardised test but involve students in continual modes of improvement. Testing is not part of life, it is part of school life. How often does anyone who goes to work have to sit an exam to prove that they are learning, that they are doing their job, and demonstrating all they know in an hour or two? We would say as adults that would be unreasonable. Performance evaluation at work relies on continuous practice. Continue reading “A Teacher’s Comment on NAPLAN”

Massive Surge in Students Opting-Out of Tests

There was a massive surge in the number of students being withdrawn from standardised tests in the United States last week. The New York Daily News reported that the entire structure of high-stakes testing in New York crumbled as tens of thousands of fed-up public school parents rebelled and opted their children out of tests. Continue reading “Massive Surge in Students Opting-Out of Tests”

My School Has Failed to Improve School Results

My School has failed dismally in its main objective to improve school results. Reading, writing and numeracy test scores have largely stagnated or fallen since the website was established. There has been no improvement in the percentage of students achieving the national minimum NAPLAN standards. Continue reading “My School Has Failed to Improve School Results”

Testing Times

It is testing season in the United States and a nation-wide rebellion against the tests is under way as a huge opt-out movement has developed. Protests against testing have broken out in cities across the US. Politicians and policy makers continue to insist that the tests encourage better school performance but this is being increasingly challenged by parents and teachers. Continue reading “Testing Times”

Parents Are Becoming More Disillusioned With NAPLAN

Parents are becoming more and more disillusioned with the NAPLAN tests. New figures released by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) show record withdrawal rates from the tests across Australia and in most states/territories this year. It suggests that increasing numbers of parents realise that NAPLAN is not compulsory and are unwilling to put their children through the high stress associated with the tests in schools nowadays.

Continue reading “Parents Are Becoming More Disillusioned With NAPLAN”

NAPLAN Results Provide Little Joy and Much Concern

There was little joy in the preliminary NAPLAN results published last month. Writing continued to decline in all Year levels while reading and numeracy have stagnated. The results are very uneven across the country with NSW, Victoria and the ACT generally achieving significantly higher results than other jurisdictions. Continue reading “NAPLAN Results Provide Little Joy and Much Concern”

Inspiring Letter From a Principal on NAPLAN

A Western Australian primary school principal has distributed an inspiring letter to his students following the release of the recent NAPLAN results, telling them the tests are “unable to measure all of what it is that makes you the valued person that you are”. Continue reading “Inspiring Letter From a Principal on NAPLAN”