PLEASE SEND A COPY TO YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL [s] AND YOUR LOCAL POLITICIANS.
The Purpose of Schooling
The Place of NAPLAN
Three important questions
In a recent cover article of Kappan, the professional publication for Phi Delta Kappan, Marion Brady asks three questions of those who are interested in schooling and what it means for our kids. He’s refers, also, to standardised blanket testing which is what NAPLAN is. Why don’t you discuss your response to the questions with a friend?….with a teacher?…..with a politician?
Public schooling’s overarching purpose is improving learner ability to think. Thinking means categorizing, inferring, hypothesizing, generalizing, extrapolating, relating, contrasting, predicting, synthesizing, imagining, intuiting, and dozens of other thought processes. To the near-total neglect of those thought processes, standardized tests reward learner mastery of just two—recalling, and to a lesser extent, applying a learned concept or skill.
Question One: Given the fact that human survival, functioning, and progress require the routine use of all thought processes, how can standardized testing’s extremely narrow emphasis on only one or two of those processes be justified?
Scores produced by high-stakes standardized tests have life-altering, often destructive consequences for learners, teachers, administrators, schools, school systems, and the institution itself.
Question Two: Why is it not morally reprehensible and ethically indefensible to continue the use of standardized tests incapable of evaluating the relative merit of thought processes essential to human functioning, problem solving, and civilized life?
Using scores on standardized tests to monitor learner and teacher performance blocks adoption of innovations and practices the merits of which cannot be quantified and contribute to a score.
Question Three: Should not the use of all commercially manufactured, machine-scored standardized tests of learners and teachers be discontinued until test manufacturers demonstrate an ability to evaluate the relative quality of the thought processes public schools were created to improve?
Marion Brady quotes from H.G.Wells: “Civilisation is a contest between catastrophe and education.”