The Challenges of Teaching Under High-Stakes Testing

A US Professor of Education reflects on the challenges of teaching under the obsession with high stakes testing. The following is an edited extract from an article published in the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog.

Designed as one measure of student learning, testing has become the end product of our schools. Our schools are no longer designed to produce educated citizens but rather places to produce test results. Continue reading “The Challenges of Teaching Under High-Stakes Testing”

New Group to Oppose NAPLAN Tests

A new coalition has been set up to organise support for a boycott of the NAPLAN tests. The Boycott Naplan Coalition was founded by three groups: The Popular Education Network Australia PENA, The Teacher and Education Support Staff Alliance TESA and the Say No To Naplan group.

A statement by the group says the organisations came together in recognition of the need to grow a loud and united opposition to the tests, to continue to share the research and facts challenging the usefulness of the tests and to provide a vehicle for others to also collaborate on such a project. Continue reading “New Group to Oppose NAPLAN Tests”

The Whackiness of School League Tables

Once again, The Canberra Times has run the legal gauntlet by publishing the crudest of school league tables. The Times is the proverbial “last man standing” now that the nation’s other newspapers have given up on this practice.

A quick analysis of the content of the league tables reveals how unreliable and meaningless the information is – at least when it comes to drawing any conclusions about school or teacher quality. Continue reading “The Whackiness of School League Tables”

Australia’s Maths Performance Relative to East Asia Improves in Secondary School

The gap in student performance between Australia and East Asian countries has been a focus of much debate in recent times. A paper recently published by the Institute of Education at the University of London shows that while the gap in mathematics is quite large in primary school much of it has been eliminated by age 16. It also shows that Australia’s mathematics results are more strongly associated with socio-economic background at age 16 than in most other countries included in the study. Continue reading “Australia’s Maths Performance Relative to East Asia Improves in Secondary School”

Year 4 TIMSS & PIRLS results

These are the summary results for Australia from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) for Year 4. They are also compared with results from earlier years. Australia participated in PIRLS for the first time in 2011. Continue reading “Year 4 TIMSS & PIRLS results”

Study Reveals the Damage to Education by NAPLAN and My School

Together with many teachers, academics and others around Australia, we can only feel vindicated by a new study by researchers at the University of Melbourne that shows the disastrous consequences of reporting school results on national literacy and numeracy tests. Incredibly, 75% of teachers say that they now teach to the test because of the focus on the NAPLAN tests and 70% say that less time is now spent on other subjects in schools. Continue reading “Study Reveals the Damage to Education by NAPLAN and My School”

Many Schools Have High Withdrawal Rates from NAPLAN

While there have been large increases since 2008 in the percentage of students withdrawn from the NAPLAN tests, the average withdrawn remains low in all states and for Australia. However, these low averages disguise some very high withdrawal rates in many schools.

Continue reading “Many Schools Have High Withdrawal Rates from NAPLAN”

Big Increase in Students Withdrawn from NAPLAN Tests

An increasing number of parents are withdrawing their children from the NAPLAN tests. There has been a four- to five-fold increase across Australia since 2008 in the percentage of children withdrawn from the numeracy tests. Withdrawals have increased in all Year levels tested and across all states and territories, with the largest increases in the ACT, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

Continue reading “Big Increase in Students Withdrawn from NAPLAN Tests”

National Rebellion Against High-Stakes Testing in the US

A national rebellion has developed in the United States against high stakes testing. The October issue of FairTest Examiner documents the extent of the rebellion.

A national grassroots rebellion against high-stakes testing is providing an important opportunity to change the testing landscape. Hundreds of school boards have now passed resolutions loudly stating, “Enough is enough.” Parents groups are rallying to provide support. Test boycotts are expanding. Academic researchers are increasingly speaking out. The growing resistance is attracting increased attention from policymakers and the media. As the scope of the opposition expands, some local organizers are focusing on winning policy changes in their states and communities. Continue reading “National Rebellion Against High-Stakes Testing in the US”