NAPLAN results were released this week and the usual political spin has accompanied them. Political leaders and ministers of education across the country have made announcements using the results to applaud, justify or condemn policy in relation to school education.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s press release titled “NAPLAN results: Plateau not good enough” is a disappointing disparagement of Australian schools, teachers and children with the intent only to justify his government’s policy to reject needs-based funding as per the Gonski model.
Birmingham intends to introduce Year 1 literacy and numeracy assessment – NAPLAN by another name – and annual reports to parents on literacy and numeracy standards, adding to the burden of data collection and reporting already felt by schools.
Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones has highlighted the improvements in Year 3 results to justify the push down encroachment of formal learning on prep and early years learning. Protecting Childhood contends that these results are achieved in spite of the curriculum, not because of it.
NAPLAN was designed to be a snapshot of specific areas of the nation’s students’ progress at a point in time. It has morphed into being the focus of curriculum itself. It is no coincidence that by focussing only on how to improve NAPLAN results do we actually achieve the opposite, and cause unnecessary stress to children and teachers in the process.
Protecting Childhood wants to stop seeing children and teachers and standardised test results used as political footballs.
Our petition, http://bit.ly/1XDSx87 which closes on Friday 5th August, is demanding the Queensland Department of Education reinstates a play-based prep curriculum and that formal schooling does not begin before age 6.
The petition has amassed over 6700 signatures online.
Protecting Childhood asks Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham to ensure that NAPLAN school-by-school results are no longer released to the public. It does not provide transparency or accountability, but creates an atmosphere of pressure, competition and stress within our learning environments that is to the detriment of our teachers and children.