This is Lulu trying to calm herself before her first NAPLAN test a few weeks ago. So much is made of these tests which provide a measure of student is performing against national standards.
I am all for identifying problems early and addressing them whether it is within the student’s ability to learn, the school’s teaching methods or other. What I do have a problem with is making the results public, the possibility that teachers are ‘teaching to the test’ for a major part of the year and whether or not these short tests at such an early age are a reasonable assessment of a child’s performance.
Lulu is one of the most laid back kids I know but she spent hours and hours before the test going through a NAPLAN revision book without my having to encourage her to do so. On the day of the first test she was nervous and worried. Afterwards, against my better judgement she went over some of the questions with me and discovered she had given the wrong answers. This kid is actually worried for her future based on the results of some tests she has taken at age ten under fairly stressful conditions and I’m not entirely convinced she shouldn’t be.
Before Molly’s application was accepted to the wonderful high school she currently attends she had to provide the results of her last two NAPLAN tests. If she had not done as well as she did would she have still been accepted?
I know Lulu well enough to know her results will not be as good as Molly’s but she is lucky that the school has a sibling policy which automatically accepts her. As long as her application is in on time, which it wasn’t but that’s a whole other post. If she doesn’t get into the same school as Molly because of a mistake that her parents have made and her NAPLAN results are average or worse poor where will that leave her?
In my heart I know that Lulu will succeed at whatever she wants to do. She is tenacious, hardworking (as long as it is something she wants to achieve which doesn’t include a tidy room) and has an amazing sense of justice. I just hope we can give her the opportunities she needs to make the road a little easier.
If you live in Australia what are your thoughts on NAPLAN?