Queensland has a new hero! Paul Thomson, the principal at Kimberley College has taken a stand against the all-pervasive NAPLAN testing regime that has infected Queensland schools. According to a story published in the Courier-Mail today, only a dozen of the more than 300 eligible students at the school sat the NAPLAN tests last year and Thomson is adamant that such testing regimes only serve to place unnecessary pressure on students and deliver little, if any, educational benefit.
It is so good to hear somebody taking a stand and putting the interests of students ahead of the unquenchable thirst for data that, in reality, offers little by the way of meaningful information for students, teachers or parents. If any teacher or parent learns anything from a student’s NAPLAN results that they didn’t already know, then clearly they are not doing their job properly.
In response, ACARA chief executive officer Rob Randall used all the approved vocabulary in declaring that NAPLAN was a “vital tool for parents, educators and the public”, declaring that “taking NAPLAN requires less than four hours over three days, four times during a student’s time at school, and from that small investment comes a wealth of student, school and national information.” Such a statement is disingenuous in that Randall would know (or should know) that schools spend considerable amounts of time ‘preparing’ students for the tests, such is the pressure on schools and students to perform at a level that satisfies the politicians and bureaucrats sufficiently for them to feel confident of remaining in their high-paid position; a position that they were seemingly able to attain without the need to sit a NAPLAN test. Yet, Randall claims that without NAPLAN testing, students will experience negative impacts through their life. Have you ever heard such rot?
It’s about time that more principals and teachers put their student’s interests first and took a stand against these pointless tests, the pressure they place on students and the disruption they cause to curriculum delivery. If student welfare and educational outcomes are the number one priority, then all school principals should follow Paul Thomson’s lead and remove the pressure and expectation that NAPLAN invariably brings.
To read the Courier-Mail article in full, click here.