Why NAPLAN tests don't measure your child

Immanuel Lutheran College students Year 7 students Kiralee Brown and Georji Dunstone are ready for the NAPLAN tests, which begin today.
Immanuel Lutheran College students Year 7 students Kiralee Brown and Georji Dunstone are ready for the NAPLAN tests, which begin today. Warren Lynam

TODAY Sunshine Coast students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will undertake one of the most rigorous tests in the academic calendar, as the NAPLAN tests are delivered for the tenth year.

Immanuel Lutheran College P-12 dean of teaching and learning Cheryl Fillmore said the test was a valuable tool for schools and parents, but should not form the basis of a school's program.

"NAPLAN is a wonderful tool to give schools and families some feedback, in an absolute sense if you like, about their literacy and numeracy standards," Mrs Fillmore said.

"As long as it's used for that purpose, it's a very valuable tool."

Schools must adhere to strict rules surrounding the tests.

Couriers deliver the sealed boxes of tests to schools, where they are kept in a secure room, and the test papers are kept in their sealed wrapping until this morning, when more than 200,000 Queensland students will take part over the next three days.

Mrs Fillmore was proud of the college's performance in past NAPLAN tests, but urged parents to avoid choosing a school based on the results.

"There's so much about a school that's above and beyond just a simple set of numbers, which are after all based on their performance on one or two days of the year," she said.

"Every school has something to offer in that space, above and beyond just a basic literacy and numeracy education, which is all that NAPLAN is measuring."

Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson encouraged students and parents to remember the context of the tests.

"The results feed into a much broader testing and assessment program that schools conduct throughout the year to assess and track the learning progress of all students," Mr Robertson said.

"This rich data enables teachers to provide extra learning support or extension to students where needed."

She was excited at the prospect of online NAPLAN testing, which would enable teachers to receive and act on results far sooner, but had concerns the technology wasn't yet up to the task and would be unsuitable for younger students.

"No doubt it will move in that direction, and when the system is mature, it will have better outcomes for students," she said.

Online NAPLAN testing is expected to roll out from next year.

Topics:  buderim education immanuel lutheran college naplan naplan test schools teachers teaching test

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