Testimonials, May 2015

"NAPLAN: students want harder exams", The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 2015

The environment helps you get used to test conditions and the atmosphere that we will have for the scholarship and selective tests, which I'm still a bit scared about.
Ashwin Rajeswaran, Year 3 student

We are really looking forward to reading and to maths.
Georgia Stewardson, Year 7 student

It had questions we usually do in real life in textbooks. We had experience in Year 3 as well.
Year 5 student

It was very easy because you normally do everything… basically things you did in Year 2 but just made a little bit harder.
Year 3 student

It was easy because for spelling questions, the words that had incorrect spelling were commonly used.
Year 5 student


"Wellington students not fazed by NAPLAN", the Wellington times, 18 May 2015

NAPLAN complements a whole range of assessments that take place in the school.

We feel it's just a regular day and we let the kids know there is nothing to be stressed about. What we ask is that students do the best they possibly can, and we always hope the results will be improving.Deb McCreadie, acting principal


"Eastern Fleurieu School Principal Trevor Fletcher blasts SA schools over NAPLAN ‘excuses", The Advertiser, 20 May 2015

NAPLAN should not be ignored but used as one of the many tools to assess the performance of the student cohort and the school itself. It is a great measure of basic numeracy and literacy required in everyday life and future study in any discipline.
Kevin


"NAPLAN holds no surprises for Year 9 St Peter's student", The Maitland Mercury, 18 May 2015

NAPLAN has really helped me and forced me to look at the areas I need to work on. For me that has been numeracy and hopefully I’ve achieved that.
John Leao, Year 9 student

The ¬results were crucial for parents and educators.

It does put stress on the students, some more so than others, but for us it’s another piece of very important data. It’s not the be all and end all, but it certainly helps us.

NAPLAN is all about getting a snapshot of where the student is at this point in time.

And this is also important for parents and teachers, so we know exactly where they’re at with their learning, so we can find out where their strengths are and the areas of concern we need to work on.

And for some students this will be the only formal examination experience they will have before the Higher School Certificate.
Michael Fuller, assistant principal
 


"Three days of national NAPLAN exams begin", the Western Advocate, 18 May 2015

[NAPLAN] provides information for both parents and teachers about how their child is travelling, not just in relation to their class, but students nationally.

It is also an opportunity to demonstrate what they learn in class.

We also try to encourage students to think of it as another day at school, and that it is not the be all and end all.

It’s a snapshot of where they are up to.
Meleesa Smith,
relieving principal at Eglinton Public School

NAPLAN has two purposes. It focuses on the point in time data of students, and is therefore useful as a snapshot.

NAPLAN sits alongside other diagnostic tools in measuring the relative strength of a year group, or cohort, compared to the state and national average.

It is a little less reliable than the School Certificate used to be, but it is the only tool we have to show how they are placed.

Dr Peter Miller,
head of All Saints’ College

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"Everyone wins in new Naplan tests tailored to students’ abilities", The Daily Telegraph, 16 May 2015

I think it is a good idea moving Naplan to computer because my hand gets sore after writing a lot. Writing is still important but I am used to a keyboard and I prefer it.

Elise, Year 5 student



"Are you on par with your kids? Take the NAPLAN test", ABC South East SA, 13 May 2015

Kylie Ind, who has two children undertaking the National Assessment Program - literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) today, said she does believe the tests are a useful tool as schools move towards a national curriculum. Her advice to her Year 5 and 7 children before they left for school today was simply to 'do their best'.

"It's a snapshot in time," she said.


Comments to the article "Parents seek professional help over NAPLAN anxiety" piblished in the Courier Mail on 12 May 2015

From my experience of the in house testing conducted by our schools, anything other than an 'A Grade' is meaningless. NAPLAN is useful as it provides a more objective indication of a student's knowledge in a given area.
Colette

I work in a school and I find the kids quite calm, as is my own son who will sit it today for the first time. In fact, my son was telling his little brother how big he was now because he got to do Naplan.

I have, however, noticed many mothers withdraw their kids and I think it's as much about their own anxiety as the kids. We've been doing standardised tests for decades and if the results stopped being sensationalised, everyone might relax a bit about the test.
Sam

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Comments to the article "NAPLAN does not have the write stuff" published in The Age on 11 May 2015
 

As an English teacher of over a decade, I do have misgivings about the way the data from NAPLAN are used… but there is nothing inherently wrong with the test itself. I also believe the ability to write persuasively is a valuable skill to teach and to have. Again, it is necessary at Year 12 for the second writing task in the GAT - a test every student must take. If teaches are boring their students with weeks of lessons on regurgitating overly formulaic answers, then it is a failing of their own, not the test.
Louise, teacher

Thinking for yourself is a very important skill, and of course no test will 'fix' anything, but that's not the point of NAPLAN. It's designed as a snapshot, and a useful guide to how kids are progressing. The problems with the test come about when it's not used properly. Despite myriad warning and guidelines, 'teaching to the test' is a self-generated problem created by teachers and some parents. NAPLAN doesn't require fixing, the attitudes of the people who use it do. Of course the unions hate it, because, while imperfect, it's one of the few attempts at objectively measuring performance that we have. Note: no-one's come up with a better way to understand educational progress, because the people who hate NAPLAN are in fact anti- the concept of measurement, or obsessive but poorly informed parents who use it for things it was never designed for, like choosing schools.
Fan

I appreciate what you are saying but we need something which reveals the standard of the students (as a whole) and students who need help (as individuals) and the standard of teachers (at school level).
Currently, 46% of Australian adults cannot read to adequately perform in Australian society. (ABS, Literacy and Life Skills survey). They were once students of NAPLAN age.

In fact, 35% of students leave school with insufficient literacy skills to get employment. These students would earlier haave been employed in manual jobs, but Australia has very few manual jobs left - they have been automated, or taken by skilled workers on machines, or simply disappeared.
The number of 46% comes as a shock to most people, yet it exists in two ABS surveys, and in a worldwide OECD survey. It is the reason for Gonski.

A small effort can see that the 40% of adults currently on welfare has its roots firmly in this literacy problem - they cannot get jobs, It explains the social outcomes visible in the Mt Druitt SBS television program, and explains the surge in disability welfare, as long term unemployed shift to escape the nonsense of fruitless job interviews.

So regardless of the issues you identified, NAPLAN serves a purpose. It is more about revealing areas of teacher failure, but teachers will always struggle in low-socio economic areas, where illiteracy is inherited.
Axis

I'm a parent and I fully support Naplan testing. My children's schools have never put excessive effort in preparing the kids specifically for Naplan. The teachers would just brief the kids on the format of the tests.... that's it. As such, I couldn't understand this worry about Naplan preparation being at the expense of other stuff. Even so, I believe the teachers can teach about writing (or any other subject) in whatever suitable way which is not Naplan specific and it will still benefit the kids when taking the Naplan tests.
I value any form of feedback about my child's abilities while acknowledging Naplan results should not be viewed in isolation to other forms of feedback. In fact, I worry more with a system that does not provide enough feedback. I'm not one of those parents who is afraid for their kids to take any form of tests. If my kid is not doing well, I want to know ASAP. The annual meetings with the class teach teachers are like speed dating....lasting less than 5 minutes each.

Naplan also have the advantage of being applied to the entire school system nationally and independently assessed. So it is a fair indicator of where our kids stand. I find that it is the teaching profession who is always harping that Naplan is useless. Could it be that they feel like they are being assessed as teachers every time Naplan results come out? I don't blame teachers for bad results. I just ask the teacher or myself what can be done to improve my kid.
Billy, parent

Also, Naplan gives me a focus to teach the kids a bit of maths every two years which is not taught at any or the school they have attended. Not "teaching to the test", just teaching pretty basic primary school maths.
T, parent

As a parent I am also concerned by the individual school reporting. For example my son was consistently given "c" (at the level) for both English and Math by teachers but NAPLAN show he was above 95 percentile in math but below 50 percentile in English. This allowed as a parent to assist my son more on English.
Waza, parent

Naplan is nothing more than a simple, structured tool for measuring some basic education goal posts. Sure its boring. Its looking at a bare minimum of student (and school) capabilities. Its not an end in itself. If a student can't do well in a Naplan test (for what ever reason) then they are likely to be handicapped in expressing themselves well later on in life.
Peter

It is unfortunate that this accountability and transparency has had to be "imposed" by the government. It would have been preferable for this to have come from the sector and profession; however failing this I am grateful the NAPLAN provides at least some transparency, benchmarking and accountability (and my kids are non fussed)
Anna, parent

As a parent, I always found it provided a useful and interesting insight into how our children were progressively from test to test, and how they compared to children in their own school and around the state.

They also provided an insight into how your child was progressing in terms of basic learning skills, including, reading, writing and maths.

I can understand why schools that don't rate so well and parents of children that aren't performing as well as they'd like might be unhappy with Naplan tests. But why should education be the only industry that doesn't have to meet KPI's? Why should teachers not also be assessed on how they are going so that those struggling to meet required standards are given help to improve or encouraged to change jobs, and those doing well, rewarded?
Michael, parent

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Comments to the article in the Daily Mail Australia, 11 May 2015
 

Of course the NAPLAN tests are academic tests, a snapshot of where a student is at on a particular day. It clearly doesn't test for talents, skills and attitudes in a multitude of areas. Tell kids the truth - short tests to show how you are going at a point in time. Do your best and just try hard. Formal tests are going to become more common as students progress through the years.
Sandra, teacher

For goodness sake, the hullabaloo about kids taking the NAPLAN test is ludicrous, including the teachers who pass on their own insecurities to the kids. The NAPLAN test is simply to ensure that kids are on track in literacy and numeracy. Heaven forbid that any child actually has to compete or have their skills tested in any way!
Kath


"Gladstone High students chilled as NAPLAN starts today" article published in The Morning Bulletin on 12 May 2015
 

We use it as a way to see where kids are sitting with literacy and numeracy... It's mapped to the Australian curriculum.

There are some questions that test a bit higher and if kids are performing at that level we can put extensions programs in place and develop programs to ensure they continue to achieve at that level.

It is valuable when it is used to have a look at a group of children.

The reality is in 10-12 weeks we'll have the raw data ... We'll look at our data against national trends.

If we do better in one area, that's of interest to us because it's something we're doing well and if the rest of Australia answers something better than us, then we'll have to look at it.
Chris Hills, principal


"Why I like NAPLAN", the Kidspot website, 12 May 2015\

Very simplistically, a child’s results are presented in a four-page folder which shows wherethey sit across literacy and numeracy testing in line with the school and the national average. And that’s the exciting part. After getting an actual metric on how your child performed you can then can put the report in a drawer never to be looked at again.

They can also red flag an issue concerning your child or the school and you may wish to find out more. It’s your call because it’s unlikely anyone is going to proactively seek you out to talk to you about your child’s results.

I’m not fussed about my kids sitting these en-masse tests every couple years and I am entertained by seeing how they fare.

I understand that there are people in the know who are strongly opposed to standardised testing. But I’m just not seeing any great harm being caused by it.

Maybe I’m delusional or have missed an important argument. But I will be waiting excitedly next term to see how my daughter performed.

For a lot of parents like me, the biennial National Assessment Program – literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) may provide the only quantifiable snapshot, at least in primary school, of how their kids are faring in literacy and numeracy.

I’m not fussed about my kids sitting these en-masse tests every couple years and I am entertained by seeing how they fare.

I understand that there are people in the know who are strongly opposed to standardised testing. But I’m just not seeing any great harm being caused by it.
Fiona Baker, editor and parent


"Cabramatta triplets Tam, Quang and Khang have their pencils at the ready as NAPLAN testing starts today", The Daily Telegraph, 12 May 2015

We need to remember that it is one measure of how students are performing.

Mistakes are sometimes a good thing as it gives us the opportunity to know what to teach next.
Beth Godwin, principal

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Teachers write a beautiful letter to the students ahead of NAPLAN testing, the Mamamia website

I'm currently in year 7 and NAPLAN is tomorrow. For any parent or child who is reading this, dont worry about Naplan, it won't affect your selective school marks, or your yeary of half-yearly report, it's just for statistics. I speak from experience, I never studied for Naplan and yet I got into North Sydney Boys High School, one of the top schools in NSW. Trust me, it's all things you have learnt before, and at most just revise the nots you took in class and you'll be fine.
Jeff, student

How else are we going to know how children are going academically? My son is now 21, but the NAPLAN tests were about the only true indication of his academic progress when he was in primary school, thanks to the ridiculous reports that were sent home. Why are parents and teachers so against NAPLAN? I absolutely loved those tests.
Anon

I'm sick of the NAPLAN whining. There is an option to opt out of NAPLAN if you don't like it. I really do like it, for the same reason as you - a good indicator of academic progress. My eldest was in the first cohort of grade 3 students to do it (so finished with Naplan now) - and he was feeling unwell in grade 7 and completely bombed in all test but it didn't matter. The other two are about to sit grade 5 and grade 9 NAPLAN.
Anon

Everyone frothing about NAPLAN needs to calm down. It's standardised testing that serves a huge purpose - to direct resources where they are most needed. I'm sorry but not every little snowflake is special and the world is a big, competitive place where they will have to get used to competing for university places and competing for employment. No workplace will give two hoots how 'amazingly special' they are.
Anon


"Teachers and students face scrutiny as NAPLAN tests begin", The Daily Telegraph, 11 May 2015

St Augustine’s College head of school, Matt Hutchison, said senior staff had implemented new programs in response to test results.

“I’m a fan of NAPLAN because it provides data on the individual, but also on teachers,” he said.

They can ask, "Have I taught something well?"

Teachers can only improve learning outcomes by improving the quality of instruction.

In terms of impact on the current academic year it’s a touch late, but it allows you to put in place education programs for next year.


"Naplan keeps students focused", the Newcastle Herald, 8 May 2015

Principal of St Therese’s Primary School, New Lambton, Duilio Rufo, said his school saw the tests as a ‘‘point in time’’ measure of student ability. ‘‘There’s much more to children’s education than one set of questions,’’ he said, ‘‘But it allows us to have a look at how the kids are trending and if we have a recurring pattern that crops up every year, we can look at specific areas’’.


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NAPLAN results tell me more about my children's strength's and weaknesses than their school reports ever do. I see it as a test of what they know, what they need help with and a visual look at how far they have come. I am all for it.
Tracey Corbin-Matchett, parent

School reports are the pits. Not sure how other schools do it but even our comments are pretty much cut and paste. I know my daughter can count and I know my daughter can read but what Naplan tells me is whether she needs help or not. Wouldn't you rather catch any problems earlier rather then later.
Shannon Murray, parent

I have had kids at 8 schools... and this is the first one where I only found out about it through other means! Yay... low key, just like its supposed to be. No 'pre tests' no 'sample tests' nothing!! I have one who will do well and one who will not, but it will give us a clear understanding of where she is and where she's going. Parents and teachers need to step back and let the testing do what its meant to do... take a snap shot of their learning on that particular day.
Julianne Keefe, parent

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