How to handle NAPLAN

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

[Unable to be sent to any school in Queensland, Australia]

How to Handle NAPLAN


The 2014 HERO OF THE YEAR has to be the eight-year-old Year 3 pupil from Hastings Public School in NSW who refused to do the NAPLAN persuasive writing test yesterday and handed in a blank sheet of paper. [SMH 14-05-14 Front Page] Yes! An eight-year-old telling Rupert Murdoch, “Leave us alone, you bully!”
Australian adults know that NAPLAN testing is useless, macabre, unreliable junk. It takes an eight-year-old to tell it as it is.
Congrats to Hastings School for accepting the little giant’s reasons.


“My gorgeous niece …..sat the Year 3 Naplan test yesterday.
Her choice for the writing part – Change one rule of law ……..”I would ban NAPLAN.”
Her reasons – kids might feel really sad if they get a bad mark and doing Naplan makes kids feel frightened..
Love this girl.”

[Not my niece.. Sent by a friend]


Stan, a Year 9 test victim, shuffled reluctantly into the school hall where each desk faced in the same direction, some distance from each other, surrounded by bare walls, with sombre ‘prison-like’ guards with a funny name, around the perimeter …a very sad-looking place. It was NAPLAN day and silence was soon ordered by the teCongrats to Hastings School for accepting the little giant’s reasons.acher-controller while instructions were given.

‘Stan the Man”’, as his friends called him, was known to be a straight-shooter and a smart cookie at most things; but his tendency to speak his mind often got him into trouble. His ‘mother’ at home had a drinking problem and he frequently had to stay with friends or sleep in the utility under the house. There was a kind of mutual respect, however, between Stan and Mrs. Copeland his Mathematics teacher who was the head invigilator for the large room during the NAPLAN tests.

‘Cope’, as her pupils called her, was familiar with Guidelines for Managing Test Incidents and the NAPLAN Code of Conduct which told a lot about the kind of administration required to manage high stakes blanket testing and about the people who organise and condone it; but she wasn’t quite ready for Stan’s reaction to the atmosphere. When she handed him the paper, Stan proclaimed in a loud angry voice, “I don’t want to do this stuff.” He’d had a bad morning. ‘Mum’ had gone berserk and ‘crowned’ his father. She had then passed out and Jake had to arrange for an ambulance for his Dad and then care for his ‘Mum’. He did not have breakfast and had no money to purchase his lunch. When he asked Cope why he had to do the tests, all she could only answer was that she was told to do so and that she didn’t like the idea any more than he did. Stan responded that it was a waste of time, “You already know that I’m no good at this bloody stuff.” [or words to that effect] Why waste his time?

When Cope explained the problems that teachers have, preparing for the tests and arranging for them, Stan asked, “Do you think that YOU have a problem?” Cope told me that she said a quiet “Ouch!” to herself; and it helped her to calm down.

While the rest of the room became restless with sympathy for Stan and concern for a favoured teacher, Cope, mother of three, managed to calm things down and the test continued while Cope and her fellow invigilators pondered over the incident.

Most adults seem to assume that all test arrangements are the same; that all victims have had a good nights sleep, a hearty breakfast, a kindly, encouraging farewell at the bus stop or the car door from a sympathetic Mum or Dad; and realise that their parents want them to do well, so that they have a better chance of getting into a private school that Mum and Dad want them to attend…despite the evidence that their suburban state high school achieves much higher quality successes in most school activities.

‘Cope’ and her colleagues know that Stan has no chance. He’ll serve his time at school amongst the thousands of NAPLAN contestants being measured more on their level of poverty than on any testucating index….then hood-dom. Teachers prefer to evaluate Stan’s progress with him as part of the learning act; and encourage, rather than force, him to try to do better all the time…. but the system won’t allow it.

Our government believes that children only learn in NAPLAN spurts under conditions of fear. It’s a one-hit data-collection business organised in the best interests of Rupert & Co…and our jelly-fish politicians know it.

The political ideology that relies on quantitative measures of helpless children’s state of being, to make judgements about learning and teaching, does enormous damage to children’s intellect and to a country’s progress.

‘Stan the Man’ for P.M. !

Don’t you wish that Year 3s were running the country?


Phil Cullen,[ …..for the kids of this world] 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 6443

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