Testimonials, April 2015

NAPLAN

NAPLAN is a useful tool that provides a lot of diagnostic information for schools and for teachers about a class, a cohort or an individual student.

Hoonar, former teacher

WAtoday, 30 April 2015


With Naplan results comes a lot of pressure and push from within regional centres to improve overall results. naplan is a great diagnostic tool to help us analyse individual student weaknesses and strengths across numeracy and literacy, it also helps us gauge where our students are, how they are travelling compared regionally across the nation. this is most important in remote areas where we can compare like schools and low-high social economic areas.

so like i was saying - once we receive the results, we spend ALOT of resources and time developing strategies to improve the results for say... year 7 students, before they reach year 9, we have 2 years to demonstrate how we will pickup these students to move above or beyond the national average.

Simon, teacher

Lifehacker
, 25 April 2015


Personally, I have found NAPLAN very helpful in identifying some serious academic shortcomings in one of my children. Not that I didn't know there were problems with her academic performance, but with NAPLAN's nation wide ranking system it highlighted just how bad it was.

Colette, parent

I like Naplan it gives me a unbiased snap shop of where my child sits it the state .

Julie, parent

The Daily Telegraph, 21 April 2015


PCs are good markers

There are times when one doubts the assessment literacy of the Teachers Federation ("Computers to mark written NAPLAN exam", April 29). To say that computer marking of essays is unsophisticated is to place an Airbus 380 in the same category as a tricycle. For too long, have we known that largescale marking of essays can be done more consistently and accurately than human markers. Ask any aggrieved student in the HSC or at a university about the subjectivity involved in essay marking.

While you are at it, why not ask educational authorities to inform each student of the disparity in markers' ratings for an essay question. That will set the cat among the pigeons.

Computers are very good at processing natural language. If they are not, then they have been instructed poorly by, guess what, a human being. Essay marking is essentially a judgment based on criteria and computers beat humans hands down when it comes to doing this thousands of times. First of all, a set of essays are hand marked and a model is created for scoring.

We have the opportunity to implement a fair and objective system but we are plagued by assessment Luddites.

James Athanasou
Maroubra
letter to
The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 April 2015


The idea behind NAPLAN is sound. Unfortunately it does not provide a snapshot as some schools focus on preparation and some parents buy books specifically designed to help their children perform well. NAPLAN is not about pass or fail. It is supposed to be a tool to aid education and I have seen it used really constructively by some schools.

Merryl, Blaxland
Canberra Times, 29 April 2015


NAPLAN will only be an effective tool when the results are returned in a significantly faster time. Currently, the turnaround is 4 months. The data NAPLAN provides for schools (for those who bother to use the software fully) is actually incredibly detailed and very helpful. I spend days analysing all of the data for each student, and the diagnostic benefit is excellent. That, combined with the links to appropriate remedial resources, makes it a very useful package overall.

Principal
Canberra Times, 29 April 2015


It is sad to see that Justin Coulson has nothing positive to say about Naplan ("Admit it, Naplan is a complete failure", Daily Telegraph, 21 April 2015).

We talk about the stress and experienced in our children because of Naplan, but these are the same children who are hooked on electronic gadgets, always walking with their heads down making no eye contact and displaying anti-social behaviour.

We as parents are losing control of our own children. If not for the government we would have no real measure of our child's ability as Naplan is the only viable alternative for such an assessment.

Getting rid of Naplan will not stop children's anxiety and stress over exams. That's human nature and Coulson, being a psychologist, should know that.

Money spent on Naplan is not a waste as it provides valuable data on schools and their standards. It is the only measure we have that tells us about schools' demographic disparities and quality of education.

Before we trash Naplan we should remember that we are seriously lagging our Asian neighbours in academic performance. If we don't make such tests compulsory only half our students will be assessed.

Nevertheless, some of the negatives about Naplan are worth considering. The government and policymakers need to work together to make such tests more dynamic and digitally smart so we can have quick and timely assessments. This will help students rectify their weaknesses before the final term.

Nitin Saksena, Kellyville
(Daily Telegraph, 22 April 2015)