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NAPLAN revolt

May 16, 2013 by

More than a million Australian students are sitting the NAPLAN tests this week, but a growing number of principals are opting out on the program.

The National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) was introduced into Australian schools nationwide as an annual assessment for students in year three, five, seven and nine in 2008

In the last five years NAPLAN has been struck by controversy, with allegations that schools have stopped poor performing students from doing the test to boost their school’s performance.

Principal of Kimberley College Paul Thompson actively discourages his 150 eligible students from participating in this week’s NAPLAN tests.

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He is an outspoken critic of the standardised multiple choice tests.

“It (NAPLAN) is a woeful waste of money and time. It is an extraordinarily destructive strategy,” he said.

Mr Thompson’s stance against NAPLAN has pitted him against education bureaucrats at the highest levels. He claims he has been investigated 29 times in the last 20 years when he began speaking out about the tests.

Kimberley College had 16 students sit for NAPLAN and according to Mr Thompson there will only be 10 this year.

More stories from reporter Damien Hansen

NAPLAN is based on an American system, adopted from former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein’s vision.

Mr Kelin is now employed by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation as the head of the company’s newly formed education business called Amplify.

Amplify has already began supplying classrooms with tablets and testing material to schools in the US.

Bob Shaeffer from the National Centre for Fair and Open Testing in the US is critical of the Australian NAPLAN model.

He is concerned with companies that will see a way of making large profits from these standardised tests. He says the Australian NAPLAN is a failure.

“We’ve seen across the US an explosion of cheating, in which teachers and administrators have manipulated the system to boost results,” Mr Shaeffer said.

“It’s because the schools are being judged based on their students’ scores on standardised exams.”

The Australian Curriculum is the assessment and reporting authority which administers the exams. Its chief executive officer Robert Randall, says it needs to be kept in perspective.

“I am really pleased as I get the feedback, not withstanding some of the media reports, the majority of schools and teachers have got that perspective in place,” Mr Randall said.

Education commentator Dr Kevin Donnelly, who has studied New York’s education system, disagrees with Mr Randall.

“NAPLAN is quite harmful when you look at the impact it’s having on classrooms and teachers,” Mr Donnelly said.

“Results in New York have either gone backwards or flat-lined. They haven’t improved standards.”


via NAPLAN revolt – Today Tonight.

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