Pros and cons of the Naplan tests

MORE than a million students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 across Australia will sit their Naplan tests over the next three days.

Designed to assess and compare our children's skills in literacy and numeracy and used - wrongly, many would suggest - to "shop” for high performing schools, Naplan, unlike OPs, which will be replaced by the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank in 2019, shows no immediate sign of reaching the end of its shelf life.

Naplan does not, however, sit easily with some parents and teachers, and the issue of publishing the results is an added layer of controversy.

Using Naplan results to compare schools has its pros and cons: it identifies schools that might need to make changes or be eligible for more resources to address poor results, but it also no doubt leads to pressure being placed on educators to tailor their teaching to the content covered by Naplan and in the way Naplan presents it.

(The school gets a good Naplan result - everyone looks good; and vice versa.) But is this the best way to equip students with the knowledge and tools to follow their dreams and live a successful life in the 21st century?

Food for thought.

In the meantime, teachers have a tough job and need and deserve our support.

Gympie Times

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