Fighting for Equity in Education

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Canberra Private School Sets a Great Example on NAPLAN

Saturday May 11, 2013

A Canberra private school has sent the following letter to parents about the NAPLAN tests. It sets a great example for other schools in dealing with NAPLAN and informing parents that they can withdraw their child from the tests.

As partners with you in the education of your children, we want to keep you aware of current relevant educational thinking and research.

This year’s NAPLAN testing for students in Years 3, 5, 7 & 9 occurs next week. You need to know that, unlike many schools, we do not spend time preparing students to do this test. Instead, Emmaus Christian School invests time in teaching them to read, write and achieve in Mathematics and every other subject. There is a difference.

I have several issues with the NAPLAN testing regime. One of them is that the results take so long to get back to us (approx 6 months), so long that they do not benefit the teachers or the students. If you would like to see why many other qualified people have issues with NAPLAN, you may like to read about about them at [Literacy Educators Coalition.]

The decision to allow your child/ren to sit the NAPLAN tests rests with you. We will administer the test as required by legislation. However, if you want to withdraw your child, you need to advise me in writing before next Tuesday. As it says on the official website (http://www.nap.edu.au/naplan/school-support/student-participation.html ): ...students may be withdrawn from the testing program by their parent/carer if there are religious beliefs or philosophical objections to testing. This is a matter for consideration by individual parents/carers in consultation with their child’s school. A formal application in the manner specified by the relevant Test Administration Authority (TAA) must be received by the principal prior to testing.

Lastly, please don’t hype up the NAPLAN test for your child – this can produce unnecessary stress. It is only 40 questions, not a complete diagnosis of your child. And a child can have a bad day – they are tired, they had an argument with their sibling/parent/friend before school, they are hungry etc etc. If you REALLY want to know how your child is going, ask their teacher!

Yours in education

Name withheld

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