A Parent Speaks Out on the Expansion of Testing

Science included in NAPLAN testing….really? Science is virtually non-existent in primary school and very general in Years 7 and 9, as it should be. The federal government’s focus here is not on science but an obsession with testing.

Parents can and do voluntary withdraw their kids from NAPLAN for very good reason. I am one such parent. How disappointing when I read ALL students will sit national science tests in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 under an expansion of the literacy and numeracy testing program that bolsters the federal government’s reforms linking school improvement to increased funding. What does increased funding mean? What government reforms are they bolstering? Will we now get science teachers forced to teach to a NAPLAN test? Science in these years is considered as a fun, interesting subject, NAPLAN will ruin this for students as well as the professional teachers that teach it.

Science in these early years hopefully spark a passion of interest, an opportunity to explore science – the same applies to every elective e.g.; a recorder or guitar in Year 4 may spark a passion for music, a PE class in Year 7 may spark a passion for Outdoor Education, Japanese or French in Year 7 may spark a passion for languages, one semester in Computer Animation or Drama or Art……..the list is endless…….students excel in all of these areas, they all effect youth confidence and youth self-esteem.

My kids in Years 7 and 9 recently came home with a Maths assignments worth 20% that was a persuasive text essay. This literacy essay has nothing to do with their Maths ability. How sad for all students and their professional Maths teachers who were forced to hand this out and mark it.

How much will this school improvement linked to increased funding process actually cost? Changing the name from NAPLAN to NAPLANAS and the update of the MySchool website alone will no doubt cost millions.

Parents are sick and tired of School Improvement Plans, Empowering Local Schools, Local Schools Local Decisions etc. etc. initiatives that are enforced on parents with no community consultation. Parents, grandparents, carers, community members need to know that education funding should and must be based on need. It is a very simple, reasonable request and concept. What a shame for all tax payers that this continued request/cry/scream is still not acted on by both state and federal government with the Gonski report.

To quote a great scientist, musician, leading author, politician, civic activist, diplomat & inventor…. “Well done is better than well said”. Benjamin Franklin.

Sharon Baxter-Judge

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