Archive for April, 2011

NAPLAN is evil

How, in just a sniff of time in just one lecture, am I going to be able to convey to my preservice teachers all of the evil in schooling that has come from NAPLAN testing?

I think I’ll start with this news article from today:

Parents of about 12 students in Year Nine at Miami State High School were asked last week to sign a waiver so their children did not sit the NAPLAN (National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy) tests, to avoid stressing the teenagers.

The parents of one student who refused to withdraw their son were told they were the only ones not to sign the form, out of those contacted by the school .

When Alexandra Fox demanded her son Mathew, 13, sit the NAPLAN tests, she was told that Mathew was quite good at English so could sit those tests, but he was not as strong in maths so she should sign the waiver for those tests.

Mathew’s father, Anthony Jarrah, said his son had no medical condition or diagnosed learning difficulty that would require his exemption from the tests.

“He’s a normal kid, has no learning difficulties or anything. He’s just one of those kids who takes a bit longer to grasp things,” he said. “They’re not educating kids, they’re not doing their best.

“He’s already 13 and it’s not that long before he’s out of school. All they want to do is to hide him all through high school like they did in primary, then once he leaves school he’s not their problem anymore.”

(Ferrari, ‘School uges students to skip tests’ in The Australian, March 11, 2011)

Is it time yet to make the call?   Seriously, the (yes, very valid, very real ‘if done properly’) diagnostic function of the NAPLAN test is being compromised so much here.

Your performance will only make our school look bad.

What a delightful message to send to the students of today.

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15 Comments

Learning Styles Don’t Exist

I came to this interesting video via Tom Whitby on The Educator’s PLN, explaining the theory of learning styles and the relationship (or lack thereof) it has to helping students to learn something new.

I certainly remember doing quizes in class at high school and talking with teachers about my learning style score.  I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to be though – I guessed language and visual based – so I went and did some online tests to find out.  Here are my results for tests of Visual/Audio/Kinesthetic (VAK) style preferences:

From the University of South Dakota (2009):

you answered A-6 B-5 C-5

based on this info you are probably

a Visual

learner.

From Businessballs.com (learning and development resources) – simple test:

Visual = 9

Auditory = 3

Kinesthetic/Tactile = 1

Interestingly, taking the Gardener’s Multiple Intelligences quiz (again from Businessballs.com) I didn’t score so high on the ‘visual’, which I suspect may be conceived differently than in the VAK model:

Intelligence type your totals
Linguistic 35
Logical-Mathematical 25
Musical 32
Bodily-Kinesthetic 24
Spatial-Visual 29
Interpersonal 34
Intrapersonal 31

So, I went back to searching for VAK learning style tests.

This one didn’t peg me as a visual learner.  It also gave me some fancy numbers about how my scores matched up to the mean profiles for each style:

  • Visual = 3 (correlations with mean profiles = -0.07)
  • Auditory = 6 (correlations with mean profiles = 0.56)

  • Kinesthetic = 1 (correlations with mean profiles = -0.54)

Weird.

I suppose I should be less surprised then that I have ended up an English teacher that highly values multimodality :P

Though, I never have put too much stock in quick, fr3e online quizes…

I’m going to show my class the You Tube clip next week.  We’re about to talk about differentiation and I know that learning styles comes up every time!

1 Comment

…and community…another vital ‘C’!

So if we are to connect, collaborate and create in a way that

fosters social justice

then as well as adding ‘critical literacy’ to the C-list, ought not we also add

community?

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