The NAPLAN Farce

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn story?

Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’

The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australia.  Our recently introduced Australian schooling system is based on one introduced to a New York school district by a lawyer, Joel Klein. in 2002 and copied by Australia’s Ms. Gillard in 2009, without consultation or examination. Mr Klein now heads the Murdoch test-publishing company worth billions. Australian test-freaks are amongst his disciples. Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which separates ‘haves’ from ‘have nots’ and opens the door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for control of school-based learning. That’s why it exists.

It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, forces States to prescribe school texts and teaching strategies, threatens Australia’s future and rivals the Perth Mint as a money source for the top end of town. Why does Australia support it? Weird.

Come on folks. Get off the fence.Say something to somebody who might be able to rescue our kids.

Parents can stop the malignant practice by telling their school that they don’t want their children to contest NAPLAN.

Politicians can stop it if a few fair-dinkum Aussie ones stand up for Aussie kids in their Parliamentary Party Room.

Principals can stop it by refusing to have their professional ethics battered any more.

Teachers can stop it by saying ‘enough is enough’. We like our kids.

We should not have to wait for the next election when un-Australian supporters of NAPLAN will be turfed out.

________But…Little Treehorn and his cobbers reckon that “Adults just don’t care about school kids.” ________

________TRUE?  HARD TO BELIEVE.   WHY IS IT SO?________

The NAPLAN Farce

Today’s Courier Mail [18 Jan.,2012]  unkindly headlines State Tops Cheats on Naplan.

“Queensland recorded half of the nation’s cheating incidents on the 2010 NAPLAN tests and nearly one-third of the total breaches, an ACARA report shows.”

God bless Queensland.

ACARA the governing body for the administration of NAPLAN, and now clearly in charge of the Australian schooling system as designed by Joel Klein [see above] , has recently released its report on incidents attached to the 2011 NAPLAN tests. It’s a riot.

It defines that “…cheating occurs when there is intent to gain an unfair advantage or improperly influence test results .”

You will find the report when you open the article “Several Schools Found to be cheating in NAPLAN Tests”; and click on the access in Para 5. Thirty-one un-named naughty incidents at schools are listed as “Incidents Investigated and Substantiated” [as at 15 December, 2011]. Please stop laughing until you have read it.

Not one mention was made of those schools that deliberately practised for the tests nor of those that used test-practice books in school time. Big-time ‘cheating’ of this magnitude seems to have been ignored. Intense practice is done only to influence results, and those who practise better or longer get a greater advantage. Those who teach the full curriculum until May are clearly in the purest condition for serious wide-scale testing; but they are at a disadvantage as far as test results are concerned. And those who are in a multiple grade situation, such as a small school, won’t be able to have their practice sessions supervised as diligently as a single-class group. There is a clear advantage to a school that has single-grade units with lots of help, lots of time and lots of money. Those of them who do the most practice, cheat the most. Some schools have been reported in the press as concentrating on NAPLAN practice in Years 1 and 2. No mention of this in the incidents report. Next year’s report, maybe, if NAPLAN lasts that long. Confusing and farcical, isn’t it?

Is there mention of what happens in large schools that believe in the effectiveness of multi-aged learning? Must they succumb to less effective forms of single-aged instruction because blanket testing almost demands it? Since practice seems to be the approved norm for Australian school systems, shouldn’t multi-aged schools of all kinds be given a choice of contesting NAPLAN or not?

Is our system of learning for children at school becoming shambled or not….for the sake of some distant measurer’s score…or a special politician’s self-aggrandisement?

It is clear that that no reliable or valid statement about mental capacity, learning ability or teaching expertise can be made about any person, school, suburb or town, based on any form of blanket testing. Such comparisons are grossly frivolous.

Most of the incidents are really funny – both “funny ha-ha” and ”funny peculiar”; and even the administration of ‘six-cuts’ to some miscreants is passed off to some-one else beyond or below ACARA. Poor State Department. The boss-principal had to do the dirty work in our day.

There is a serious side. One wonders if any ACARIAN or NAPLAN supporter or fence-sitting politician has ever been in a classroom where test-induced tension prevails. It can be like water-torture at its most efficient.  Nervousness and agitation pervade the atmosphere. It’s thick with created tension. Wonder at what the test might contain and worry. worry, worry is in the air. It’s in the faces and the gestures and the antics. As the test gets going and the teacher empathizes with the obvious tension, the temptation to help their young friends…somehow… must be great. They can’t. Those who do…maybe a few minutes extra..maybe pointing at an obvious error…maybe a grunt or ‘uh-uh’ at a mistake about to be made…can get mentioned in the SUMMARY OF REPORTED INCIDENTS and the future of a loving teacher is in jeopardy. As a teacher-supervisor or invigilator, you wonder what masochist dreamed up this idea. Why can’t these little people enjoy learning?

The Save Our Schools article started with “Several teachers were found to have helped children…” and “Several schools were also found to have encouraged some parents to withdraw their children from the tests’.” As friend Fred would say, “That’s their bloody duty, mate…to tell it as it is! We need more spunky, information-sharing schools with independent points-of-view.”  Spunkiness is the only way to contest this malicious, threatening and degenerative regime of fear. We want to know what our principal, unthreatened, thinks of national blanket testing. It’s our kids’ future on the line. We want our [thinking] principal to tell us as it is.

One incident was described as follows : “Principal reported in media interviews that he would not allow students to sit the tests and subsequently that parents would be encouraged to withdraw students. Relevant to: Years 3,5,7,9.’’ No prizes for guessing the school. Kimberley College, a private school,  is one of the best in Australia, with spunky, heavy curriculum-based, achievement-oriented leadership. It doesn’t need unreliable, curriculum-wrecking external blanket-testing to ruin its esprit. What did ACARA record in its ‘Action taken and outcome’ column in its report?  “Matter was substantiated. No further action taken.”   Well done, KC.    LOL

It is now reported that one State wants to limit the time spent on practising for the test. Ye Gods. Did one ever think they would witness such a thing in 2012? It knows that wide-scale cheating is going-on and tries to organise/supervise it!  One hope that it doesn’t say that it approves of a child-oriented, learning-based curriculum at the same time as it suggests such a thing.

Even the shambles are becoming shambled.

CLEARLY…..this NAPLAN testing is the centre-point of Australian schooling. It defines us as educators…all of us.

Fair go.


If you have 4 minutes 17 seconds to spare from your busy schedule, click on the theme song “Care for Kids” above, relax and ‘take in’ the words. It’s quick meditation. Calm your anger. Enjoy.

Other Treehorns ? There are 70 others! 

Check Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

  Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443


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