The Treehorn Express
Opinion soaked in knowledge & experience.
Treehorn is the hero of an easy-to-read, sad children’s book: “The Shrinking of Treehorn” by Florence Heidi Parry. It clearly illustrates the disregard that adults demonstrate towards children at school. Treehorn’s principal and his teacher, even his parents give him ‘short shift’. Are C21 parents any more caring? Do they really care that high-stakes school testing can cause stress,vomiting, worry and sleeplessness to their children; and does nothing of any use for learning habits?
CARE FOR KIDS
NAPLAN RESULTS 2012
A Prismatic Disaster
“The final 2012 NAPLAN National Report, which was released yesterday, shows most of the nation has flat-lined on literacy and numeracy tests, while going backwards in Numeracy for Years 3 and 7.” [Courier Mail, 19/12/2012]
The 344 page report is available on line. [Start searching at http://www.naplan.edu.au ] The closing commentary on Pages 343-4 suggests that “NAPLAN results provide the opportunity to examine the gains in achievement by cohorts of students as they pass through school.” Joke?
School-oriented educators predicted this state-of-affairs in 2008-9. It’s not a secret. They tried to help at the time. When teaching and learning are fear-based, improvements in scores will climb for a while; and then they plateau. “It happens” as Forrest Gump would have said. Interest in learning and general achievement decline seriously at the same time because their meaning has been removed….and…. it’s serious.
It’s time …for a rethink.
The time-honoured politico/testucating tactic to follow such results is to blame the teachers and the quality of teaching; then point out to the public that our indigenous, post code and migrant folk skew the overall results. Things would be a lot cosier without them. Your testucators are blaming them, of course. Watch.
This blame game will have an effect on scores; and Australia can expect a marginal increase in scores [whatever use that is] in 2013, maybe 2014; then we should flat-line again. Teachers are easy to scare. Not much chance of a ‘top-5 by 25’ on PISA tests, Julia and Peter, unless high-stakes testing is banned completely; and you allow those wonderful, albeit compliant and passive, teachers, who have hung around, to get on with the business of Learnacy.
Then, and only then, will your precious PISA scores escalate.
Your sweet-talking advisory testucators are leading you astray, Julia and Peter. Their inexperience is showing; and, as well, they will severely lessen your electoral chances next year. Just watch
Last month, the Commission on the Future of Assessment reported to the U.S.A. Academy of Education as follows : “The nation’s drive to develop standards-based accountability for schools has led to tests that ‘with only few exceptions, systematically overrepresent basic skills and knowledge and omit the complex knowledge and reasoning we are seeking for tertiary studies and career readiness.’”
You can’t, with any honesty, pick on teachers for the outcomes of a test-based curriculum, Julia and Kevin and Peter. You started it all in 2008 with flag-waving and heavy-handed boasts that you would not take any notice of Australian academics and others who might warn you about its effects. Silly little pollies, you were.
In last month’s report mentioned above, the U.S. noted this outcome: “Because teachers are accountable – and increasingly evaluated professionally – on the basis of these tests, ‘the way math and reading are now taught are disabling because they are taught for recognition and taught for memorization; and even comprehension is being postponed. The way that subject matter gets presented is the harm of teaching-to-the-test regimes.”
The usefulness of formative testing, from one-on-one evaluation through an intriguing scale of useful devices to bubble-filling blanketing, itself, needs field-testing. Something useful for measurers and testucators to do instead of just working to present the old garbage in prettier on-line disposable bags at a cost of millions!
It is becoming very, very clear that NAPLAN testing in Australia [as with ‘National testing’ in N.Z. and U.K.; and NCLB in U.S.A.] is a monumental, prismatic disaster. It’s a disaster no matter what way you want to look at it.
Peter. You’re in charge. Do something useful!
“NAPLAN is a cancer eating away at education. It is distorting teaching practice, reducing creativity and fun of learning, denying students in-depth learning experiences and sidelining other key subjects such as science, history, languages and the arts for much of first semester.”
“A Queensland teacher said: ‘We seem to have lost not only the fun of learning but also the intrinsic value of finding out about, and trying out ‘stuff; because it is interesting…the joy of teaching is fading fast in the last few years thanks to NAPLAN. A WA teacher said that NAPLAN is ‘very limiting’ and restricts ‘creativity in teaching’.
One NSW parent said that NAPLAN is equivalent to the selective high school test. Others said that the pressure around NAPLAN was equivalent to Year 12 exams.”
[Trevor Cobbalt : “NAPLAN is a Cancer Eating Away at Education” SOS May 15 2012]