Woe are the children.
testing has raised its head again:
There has been news that the NAPLAN (https://www.nap.edu.au/information/key-dates/naplan-2017-timetable) may be increased. The suggestion is that grade 1 students (essentially 5-7 year old children) will be tested. Essentially, there is a problem with testing anyway. ABC suggest that 1 in 10 teachers fail some of the kinds of tests that are asked of children (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-01/literacy-numeracy-teachers-test-quiz/6991246). And given that there are lots of problems internationally with the testing standards (http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/grade-1-test-riddled-with-silly-mistakes-1937897) is there not a problem with asking grade 1 students to do these kinds of tests?
I think its wrong, but I have no proof. I am speculating.
What is the benefit of giving younger students more tests?
Checking what the Gonski report says (https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/review-of-funding-for-schooling-final-report-dec-2011.pdf)
from page 217 of the Gonski report
“Academic goals are far more readily measured and reported by external testing than general capabilities. However, an excessive focus on what is testable, measurable and publicly reportable carries the risk of an imbalance in the school curriculum. Independence, confidence, initiative and teamwork are learned as much through elements of the curriculum that are not readily measured by an external test as through those areas in which outcomes can be readily tested and reported.”
So what constitutes a “balance in the school curriculum” for grade 1 students?
and yet, there is a key issue with the entry level numeracy and literacy of students:
“Firstly, the learning needs of students should be identified on entry to schooling. NAPLAN testing of literacy and numeracy at Year 3 is too late to be an entry-level diagnostic tool. In-school diagnosis of skills in reading and number sequencing when children enter schooling at age 5 is the key to a sound foundation for successful learning in the later years. Where children are found not to be at the expected proficiency level, intervention should be immediately available, either for small groups of children or as individuals.” (Gonski p. 218)
So, although we clearly need some kind of entry level benchmark testing, should we be taking up time in the grade 1 curriculum for it?
Should we not be relying on the teacher’s expertise to indicate student levels?
Are we already asking too much of teachers?
Again, I don’t know the answers to this. I am loathed to suggest that my daughter (5years) take some kind of test.
it scares me