The annual NAPLAN is underway this week with students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 sitting through a three-day test in reading, writing and arithmetic.
Audio – Justine Ferrari talks about NAPLAN on Open House
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This year will be the first time schools can track how a student has performed on the tests from Year 3 to year 9, with this year’s ninth-graders the first to undertake NAPLAN as third-graders in 2008.
But since the tests started six years ago, they’ve been plagued by controversy. There are claims that the tests have caused teachers to narrow the curriculum, and even cheat on the results. NAPLAN has also come under fire for causing stress and even health problems for students.
Justine Ferrari, National Education Correspondent for The Australian, and a mother of a NAPLAN veteran, says that these tests are not “the first test ever invented for school students.”
“One of the biggest benefits is that schools are becoming better at using test data to improve their teaching,” she says.
The publication of the results puts greater pressure on the teachers and the school to improve their teaching, and students should not be worried about their results.
“These are just tests and if kids are that stressed about it, it's because the adults have overblown them,” Ms Ferrari says. “Tell your kids it's not a test for them, it's a test for schools and teachers.”