From the VP: NAPLAN: You have been heard!
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 4, 1 June 2018, p9
Three key ingredients for a successful campaign are anger, hope and action. These have been well and truly on display in our ongoing NAPLAN campaign.
QTU members angry at having been fobbed off by successive governments when raising genuine and heartfelt concerns about NAPLAN and MySchool envisaged a better situation, one where NAPLAN is reviewed, reined in or replaced, and in May, teachers and school leaders in 96 schools took action and banned the implementation of NAPLAN Online. While we have won the reviews we were seeking, the campaign to address the impact of NAPLAN in our schools and classrooms continues, and to that end, another step in our campaign has been to gather the anger and hopes of members via a large survey of QTU membership.
Thousands of QTU members recently took time out from their busy lives to complete the QTU’s member survey regarding NAPLAN (see page 13). The high level of participation reflects the strength of feeling among members. However, the survey results delivered more than just statistics in response to multiple choice questions. The survey allowed for participants to share their frustrations. Thousands of you took that opportunity.
Here are just some of the things you wanted to say:
“At the heart, NAPLAN is not about the kids really, it is about politics and data used for political reasons” Classroom Teacher, P-12
“There are already time pressures with the curriculum being so heavy, so adding NAPLAN preparation to the table adds extra stress to teachers, students and parents.” Primary teacher
“Some children experience genuine and unnecessary stress leading up to and on the day of NAPLAN tests, due to media hype and parent input.” Primary teacher
“If students struggle with academics and the teacher has been working hard with them, this test tells them they are not good and reinforces the negativity that teachers are trying to overcome with education.” Secondary teacher
“We spend so much time teaching students to perform better with higher order thinking and reasoning, however we rely heavily on a standardised testing regime like NAPLAN to inform future teaching practices. It doesn’t make sense to me.” Secondary teacher
“Many students become stressed. Teachers are pushed to do up to six weeks of NAPLAN preparation.” Special education teacher
“Teachers already collect so much data on student achievement and progress that I question whether the NAPLAN data is telling us anything that we don’t already know.” Special education teacher
“I know lots of children who have panic attacks, become distressed or just don’t even try when given the NAPLAN tests.” P-10 deputy principal
“So much valuable teaching time is spent teaching children test-taking skills at a young age, well before they need them anywhere else.” Deputy principal, primary
“Without NAPLAN, teachers and students would have more opportunities to explore more aspects of the curriculum in a deeper way.” Deputy principal, primary
“Why do we continue with NAPLAN when evidence from across the globe tells us that blanket standardised testing sends students backwards?” Secondary deputy principal
“NAPLAN in its many forms is my key role at schools and really takes over from the core business of supporting student improvement.” Secondary deputy principal
“I feel it frequently damages the self-esteem of students who are already struggling with self-image.” Guidance officer
“As an EAL/D teacher, I find the expectation of migrant students having to participate in standardised testing against their peers after only 12 months in Australia to be ludicrous. It is a completely pointless practice.” Specialist teacher
“As a teacher and principal, I work with my students every day. I assess their work and change my teaching to best suit their needs on a daily basis. This is what should be valued, not a test taken on a particular day because the government says so!” Primary principal
“Since 2008, I have struggled to see how our society is better for the introduction of NAPLAN.” Secondary principal
You have been heard. Our campaign to review, rethink and replace NAPLAN will continue.