Thanks for the very quick responses.

until Naplan’s blanket testing is “dead, buried and cremated”.

The  Treehorn  Express

Treehorn spent his youth being ignored. The hero of Florence Patty Heidi’s The Shrinking of Treehorn [Read it to you kids or grand-kids yet? You can purchase it on-line.] is bouncing back. He has asked for some questions that ought to go on an Adults’ Naplan Test. He won’t be so cruel as to publish the results or compare you with others. Treehorn has class. He’s a public school lad. He will even keep your anonymity. Garn. Think some up…or has testing cruelled your creativity? It does that.


Thanks for the very quick responses.

Treehorn’s Naplan Test 

Q.1  In 40,000 words or more, please explain why you give these tests to us. 

[“Do you like the implication,

That it takes some explanation?”]

 Q,2 Where do you live? Please explain.

Stories of National Blanket Testing  [Prof. Brian Cambourne’s idea ]

1. “With apologies for the rudeness, but it’s as close as I can get to the way that grand-daughter ‘L ‘ told me , ‘She [her teacher, a stern but lovely lady] had been hounding and scaring us for weeks. It was tests and more tests.  We were all white and frightened as the tests were about to start. She knew that I was scared more than the others. She came up to me and whispered in my ear, ‘Don’t worry. It’s all bullshit, mate.’ I looked at her. She winked. I got the giggles as did my friends who heard her.  We felt a lot better.’ “

2. This is a very sad story extracted from “Journal for Critical Education Studies. Vol. 9 No.1 P.295-6 . Sept.2011“  It is a story that brings no credit to those who are trying to attach teaching competency to pupils’ test scores.

“The Obama administration is an aggressive advocate of the value-added method and through RTTT [‘Race to the Top’] is coercing states to change laws so that teachers will be evaluated primarily by this method. The impact of this  dehumanizing approach on students, teachers and communities is palpable.  In September 2010, the Los Angeles Times published a value-added formula grading performance of  more than 6,000 Californian teachers. Rigoberto Ruelas, a popular fifth grade teacher of low-income immigrant students in Los Angeles, committed suicide after the Los Angeles Times published that he was a “less than effective teachers” based on his students’ test scores.  Despite the value-added rating of Ruelas, the L.A. Unified School District officially confirmed that Rigoberto Reulas  was a very effective teacher, while colleagues, students and parents report that he was  a very committed teacher and a strong advocate for students.  Many who knew Ruelas claim that he worked long hours and  would often go to students’ homes to visit families and was even known to bring groceries or other household items if there was a need. (Hoag.2010; Watt.4)

What happened to Rigoberto Ruelas  illustrates the destructive nature of current education policy, where teachers, schools and students are reduced to being test scores and their value within the education marketplace is measured by testing achievements. Within this context people are dehumanized, human relationships are devalued, and lived experiences, social identities, hopes, aspirations, socioeconomic conditions, diverse ways of knowing, and learning differences are systematically marginalised. (An.2009)”    {Timothy Scott  A Nation at Risk to Win the Future : The State of Public Education in the U.S. Uni. of Massachusetts, Amherst,  Massachusetts. USA}

3. The story below arrived “For Treehorn and for Us.”   It begs the question : If children pray for success in the Naplan tests, are they cheating ?    Presumably, contestants are not allowed to seek outside help during the test.

Whoever maintains the Measurers’ Code of Conduct or some ardent Naplanners can explain.  It’s tricky. If it is approved, church schools should expect an even larger increase in enrolment applications.

SIMPLE PRAYER  “My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time. During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tyres. It was not an easy task for Gilbert to do. Dad was was not receptive to doing things with his son. Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine Derby car. The block of wood remained untouched for some time.

Then I, Mum,  stepped in. The project began. Having no carpentry skills, I decided to leave it all to Gilbert. He worked on it. I read the measurements and the rules of what we could and could not do.

Within days the block of wood turned into a pine derby car. A little lopsided, but looking great  [ Mum said] . Gilbert had not seen any of the other kids’ cars and was feeling pretty proud of his “Blue Lightning”, the pride of knowing that you have done something on your own.

Then the big night came. His pride quickly turned to humility. Gilbert’s car was obviously the only car made entirely on his own. All the others were father-son products with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed.  A couple of  boys giggled at Gilbert’s lopsided, wobbly unattractive vehicle. To add to the humility, Gilbert was the only one who did not have a man at his side. A couple of boys from one-parent homes had an uncle or grandfather by their side; Gilbert had “Mom”.

It was an elimination race contest. You kept racing as long as you won. One by one the cars raced down a finely sanded ramp. Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest looking car there. As the last race was about to begin. my wide eyed, shy eight-year-old asked if they could stop for a minute because he wanted to pray. The race stopped. On his knees clutching his funny block of wood, he prayed in earnest for a long minute and a half. Then, “Okay. I am ready”.

As the crown cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as their car sped down the ramp. Gilbert stood with his prayer in his heart to watch his block of wood wobble down the ramp with surprising speed and rush over the finish line a fraction of a second ahead of Tommy’s car.  Gilbert leaped in the air with a loud  “Thank you” as the crowd roared in approval. The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with the microphone and asked, “So you prayed to win, Glibert?”  To which my young son answered, “Oh, no sir. That wouldn’t be fair to ask God to help you beat someone else. I just asked Him to make sure I didn’t cry when I lost.”

He’d asked God to give him strength in the outcome….and he walked away with his Father at his side.”    by Peggy Porter.


Apologies for the previous presentation on The Treehorn Express . It comes up a lot better on Allan’s: –

Click it and have a look.

Expect a number of readings next. The above contributions are warmly appreciated.  I expect more from Treehorn’s friends. You!

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia  2486

07 5524 6443


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