To NAPLAN or not to NAPLAN?

If you’ve been following the news recently, you may have noticed that NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy And Numercy) has recently been hitting the headlines.  If your child/ren are currently enrolled in any of the primary or secondary schools in or around Fairfield, you will most likely have an opinion about NAPLAN.  For those not in the know, NAPLAN is an Australia-wide assessment that began in 2008, and is conducted annually on children in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.  The national test is designed to assess all students in the skills of reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation), and numeracy.

Whether you’re in the process of choosing a school for your child or your children are currently enrolled in a local school, you will probably have clicked onto the government’s MySchool website at some stage and noticed the public NAPLAN scores on display for every Australian school.

So what are the benefits of NAPLAN?

According to the website, some important benefits are:

  • Schools are able to easily identify the strengths and weaknesses in their own programs, and can use the results to drive improvements within their own lesson plans, programs and curriculum.
  • Education ministers and curriculum stakeholders can similarly use the national results to determine the success of their policies and resources, and use the NAPLAN results to make evidence-based policy changes as the need arises.
  • NAPLAN increases accountability.  Its transparency gives all Australians a better understanding of policy requirements and the allocation of educational resources.
  • It enables parents to easily draw comparisons between schools, and better understand their own school’s performance in the assessed areas.

However, recent headlines have hit out at NAPLAN.  Some critics have suggested that the yearly tests narrow the focus of schools, forcing teachers to ‘teach for the test’ rather than teaching for learning.  Many have also said that the pressure NAPLAN places on teachers and students alike is doing more harm than good; while others have hit out at the credibility of NAPLAN, suggesting that some schools are asking struggling students to stay home during testing to ensure their results remain high and their public image intact.

When speaking with Fairfield parents, students, teachers and principals, it is clear that NAPLAN is a controversial topic, with both avid supporters and passionate critics found within the same school community.

If you have children attending Fairfield Heights Public School, Fairfield Public School, Fairfield High School, Patrician Brothers College , or another school in the Fairfield area, please share your opinion with us here.  Do you look forward to receiving information about your child and their school based on their NAPLAN results, or do you wish teachers could get on with teaching without the pressure of NAPLAN?

We expect varying opinions and views, but would love to open up a forum of respectful discussion to see what local families honestly think of NAPLAN, so please jump on and share your view with us here.

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