Gympie South State School Year 5 student Jasmine Segon finishes off her NAPLAN testing yesterday.
Gympie South State School Year 5 student Jasmine Segon finishes off her NAPLAN testing yesterday. Craig Warhurst

Gympie kids sit NAPLAN tests

STUDENTS across the Gympie Region started off yesterday feeling a little nervous as National Literacy and Numeracy testing began.

Queensland Teachers Union Wide Bay regional organiser Greg Purches said some were intimidated by the testing process but the normal number of students were participating.

Just days before the testing was due to commence Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard was able to strike a deal with the Australian Education Union to make sure teachers would supervise the testing.

The teachers had threatened to boycott the National Assessment Program, Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests as part of an ongoing dispute over the Federal Government’s My School website.

Union members were against the test results being uploaded on the web and being used to compare schools’ academic scores in what they called “league tables”.

They argued that comparing scores would lead to underperforming school’s being unfairly named and shamed.

But Ms Gillard convinced teachers not to take action after she offered to form a working party of educational experts, to provide advice on the use of test results and other indicators of school performance.

Mr Purches said he believed that if Gillard wasn’t going to agree to a “review” then a number of schools in the Gympie region wouldn’t have undergone the testing.

“(Gillard) has agreed (to the review) and we are confident our teacher input will improve the data on the web,” Mr Purches said.

He said the students hadn’t been disadvantaged by the dispute.

In Queensland about 200,000 students from years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will now sit the tests held over three days from Tuesday.

Mr Purches said the tests were beneficial for parents to see how their children were performing but said putting the data on the web didn’t result in a good measure of how a school in the Wide Bay area was doing compared to other schools.

“Most Wide Bay schools are too small for any benefit,” he said.

“By the time the test results come out in October we should have had the review and the site will be made more relevant for parents.”

Mr Purches said he knew of two parents who kept their children away from testing because they were traumatised by the process.

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