Aussie Friends of Treehorn

i.e. Those who are concerned for kids at school.

The core-purpose of NAPLAN is to improve PISA results – top 5 by 25. What’s happening?

What a week it was! The outcomes of Australia’s NAPLAN program revealed themselves in PISA results and every know-all ‘expert’ raced to blame classroom teachers and call for Gonski reform. The Gonski debacle hit the streets at the same time as the shameful PISA results. Tough luck, kids. Attention was skilfully diverted to ‘money for states’ and well away from concern for school children.

A truly amazing reaction to NAPLAN/PISA.

Leaders of political parties, news commentators, newspaper editors, shock jocks, measurement experts, stuffy academics and union leaders, all of whom ought to know better , seemed determined to stay away from discussion of the effect of standardised blanket testing on pupil fondness for achievement in Maths and Reading. They preferred to pontificate. Letters to newspapers and community-opinion newsletters were not printed. They seldom are when writers mention ‘NAPLAN. One lengthy newspaper article about ‘raising the bar’ did not even give NAPLAN a nod amongst the multitude of words! In view of the circumstances, that’s a remarkable feat.

The stifling provisions of corporate protection by the media continues.

I’ve seen the leader of Australia’s largest measurement factory on TV, parrot the Pyne four-item litany of teacher quality, principal autonomy etc. artfully dodging the impact of his kind of business on the business of schooling. I’ve seen a university professor blame teacher quality and remain silent about other reasons for the test scores to diminish. I’ve seen a Labor leader blame Pyne-driven attitudes to Gonski for the PISA scores, totally ignoring the history of SBTs in this country and its emphasis on mediocrity.

I’ve seen Mr. Pyne ramble on with his evasive litany, but did not understand what he was saying. Nor did he. However, in a lucid moment, he did say that his government “will tackle the decline in student outcomes head on.” That means that NAPLAN goes out the window as soon as possible. No NAPLAN. Surely – if he has read the PISA results. It MUST go. If it doesn’t, such a statement exposes political hypocrisy of the highest order. That’s where you have to start, Chrisie lad!

No one gave child feelings, mental health nor attitudes to learning a second thought. None seemed to know anything about the effects of SBTs on classroom performance. No one seems to give a hoot.

Where have all the teachers gone? You can rely on their ‘professional’ and industrial organisations not to say anything about the naplaning of pupil achievement. They are too well controlled and too timid. That’s a shame. All they have to do is say “No more NAPLAN” and watch PISA results rocket upwards. If PISA results worried them at all, they must. They’ll be crtical, but meek. I’m hoping they will think more seriously about their controlled silence. It’s time NOW.

The inclination of testucators to blame the academic credentials of neophyte teachers is outrageous. How can our hoi-poloi smarties presume to judge? How do they judge or test the levels of love that teachers have for their pupils or the methods they use to encourage the basic need for their young friends to achieve and to like the subjects that others find unpalatable? How can they presume to understand the thousands of daily exchanges in each classroom and talk down to professional operators with such pompous authority?

Please get off your high horses and come down to the level of the kids – the ignored Treehorns of the world. The way you react to critical circumstances is abominable.

You can be sure that no true-blue Aussie teachers or real educators asked for NALPAN to be introduced in 2008. It was a scatomeme that was dumped on them. It was also dumped on gullible State Ministers with a mafia-like-gun at the head, “Do as you are told…or else” edict; and they now have to watch the kids, for whom they are responsible, suffer seriously in many ways. Please Ministers, think of your kids first. Then, you might even be able to have your results isolated on a state basis….just like Shanghai does….and be up there in the top 5 before 25.

[Singapore, by the way, one of the PISA high scorers is asking Australian teachers how they teach to develop healthy learning attitudes. Why? Finland knows about kids’ feelings and doesn’t give a hoot about PISA results. How come?]

 STOP! ASK OURSELVES :What major changes have there been to the Australian schooling landscape over the past two PISA test periods ? ONLY ONE – NAPLAN testing

It’s outcomes have been revealed in the PISA results and we don’t have the courage to talk about it. I double-dare any of the non-classroom based ‘experts’ mentioned above, to deny the fact that NAPLAN testing and NAPLAN testing alone, has caused the decline in test scores.


 “PISA suffers some limitations. It assesses a very limited amount of what is taught in schools; it can adopt only a cross-sectional design; it ignores the role and contribution of teachers; and the way its results are presented – in some at least of its tables – it encourages a superficial ‘league table’ reading of what should be a more interesting but essentially more complex picture.” [Pete Mortimer] http://www.oecd.org/pisa/47681954.pdf

Make sure you read http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/education/education-rankings-flawed/ and http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/12/05/if-pisa-is-the-answer-what-is-the-hell-was-the-question/

PISA [Program for International School Assessment] is a series of tests [Maths, Reading, Science] of randomly selected 15 year old in a number of countries, conducted every 3 years. The tests are composed in Paris by testucators employed by the IEA, a branch of OECD and used under a variety of conditions, using a number of languages with some alterations to the modus operandi to suit local circumstances [e.g. Shanghai]. It sounds very important. It has become so. However, because of the varying circumstances, the reliability and validity of the tests have been questioned by more knowledgeable measurers from around the world, beyond Paris. Read Harvey Goldstein and Gene Glass for instance.

PISA is a ‘thing’, a very respected measurement ‘thing’ that those who are ‘possessed’ by testing children [as I was, once] and sciolists use; so that they can talk about test scores and schooling by numbers. They don’t understand social behaviour. Bystanders seldom question the edicts of these classroom fringe dwellers who are merely expert measurers, often referred to as ‘testucators’ [because they exist in rooms in office buildings and their schooling-educator experience is limited]. They exist in almost every major jurisdiction around the world. They like comparing the scores on their tests with those from Paris. Because they talk in numbers that are easily understood, they are regarded highly by curious non-educators. Each jurisdiction has its own PISA practising devices in the form of Standardised Blanket Tests. Australia has NAPLAN.

Is Pisa fundamentally flawed?


NAPLAN is a series of tests for 7-15 year old Australian children. It is based on a battering-ram instruction ideology, devised by a New York lawyer who now leads a multi-billion dollar school testing conglomerate. With political assistance, he introduced his test-based system to Australia in 2008 and still maintains a vested interest. He still owns us.

School children are seriously affected by the NAPLAN testing regimes, which, apart from impairing their general mental welfare, has disposed most of them to heartily dislike Mathematics, English Literacy and Science. Kids are natural learners, with feelings. Only some quietly endure the [testing-oriented] May days.

 The serious outcomes of NAPLAN testing have been revealed in the 2013 PISA results for the second time since it was introduced in 2008. Conclusive evidence.

NAPLAN is a flop. It has failed its purpose.

 The dislike of NAPLAN by practising Australian teachers is close to 100% and the opposition by notable educators and writers has been constant, reliable and serious and growing. The Treehorn Express is only one outlet. Google: Marion Brady, Brian Cambourne, Sir Ken Robinson, Bruce Hammonds, Valerie Strauss, Diane Ravitch, Tony Gurr, Literacy Educators, Allan Alach, Peggy Robertson, Patricia Buonocristiani, Pasi Sahlberg, Gene Glass, John Goodlad. There is a endless list of such distinguished true-blue, concerned-for-children educators around, who are prevented from sharing the limelight of SBT testucators. Stack the credentials of any one against those of any naplaner….against Klein, Gillard, Nelson, Rudd, Pyne and their hacks.

Surely it is clear, even to NAPLAN devotees and the ‘silent uncertain’…….

 NAPLAN is having a very serious and deleterious effect on positive schooling.

 Gonski principles CANNOT co-exist with NAPLAN testing.

 NAPLAN is a serious threat to Australian standards.

 QED – It has been demonstrated.


Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443 cphilcullen@bigpond.com.au















Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s