Parents – I invoke thy name!

(alternatively titled Well whaddya know, the moratorium paid off.)

In the wake of the moratorium on NAPLAN testing imposed by the AEU, claims about ‘what parents want’ were bandied around left, right and centre.

A quick look at the website for the P&C Federation in NSW directs you to a statement that made their position clear:

The Federation of Parents and Citizens Association strongly opposes the Australian Education Union’s ban on teachers conducting the NAPLAN testing to take place from 11th to the 13th May this year.

BINGO! But wait…read on:

Despite the Ministers assurances to the contrary, we see no evidence of a constructive and useful dialogue between the Government and the Teaching Unions. Our position has always been that the Government needs to be proactive in addressing the concerns of parents and teachers in how NAPLAN data is being used and presented to the public.

Parents as an integral part of the education process and as a stakeholder in educational outcomes demand to be included in future discussions.

So let me get this straight…

It is fine and dandy for the government, and the DET leadership, and the media, to invoke the desires of parents when it suits them i.e. to convince teachers to run NAPLAN.

But as far as the desire of parents to be included in decision making around the construction of the MySchool website…well, let’s not take things too far now.

The expectations and rights of parents as stakeholders in education are all to frequently invoked in such a selective manner.

Today’s decision by the AEU to lift the moratorium on NAPLAN testing follows:

an offer by the Education Minister Julia Gillard to form a working party of educational experts, including representatives of the AEU, to provide advice on the use of student performance data and other indicators of school effectiveness.



As an English teacher who values NAPLAN as a dignostic tool, who values the rights of parents as stakeholders, and who is also a staunch opponent of use of NAPLAN data on the MySchool website, I am relieved.

Parents and teachers belong on the same side of the fence, and the way in which politicians and media pundits were setting us against each other was atrocious.

The AEU said from the get-go that the ban would be lifted if the Federal government engaged in authentic consultation with teachers over the MySchool website and took measures to prevent the construction of league tables.

And so it has.

Thus endeth the NAPLAN fiasco of 2010.

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  1. #1 by Darcy Moore on May 6, 2010 - 6:37 pm

    …not quite!

    Students in some non-government schools have been drilling Years 7 & 9 but one wonders how ‘confounded’ the results will be, with the 70% of students on the government sector having had little or no test preparation.

    It still feels like ‘lose-lose’ and the political brinkmanship of all concerned makes me weep.

  2. #2 by kmcg2375 on May 6, 2010 - 6:42 pm

    Ah, too true, too true.

    Can’t say I’m upset at a lack of test preparation though – skills tested in NAPLAN ought to be embedded in Quality Teaching of the English curriculum. IMO teaching practice should not be a dog wagged by the tail of testing, or the MySchool website.

    Carry on DET teachers as usual…save the drilling for woodwork.

  3. #3 by Darcy Moore on May 6, 2010 - 6:49 pm

    All students prepare, immediately before exams, by completing past papers, it is a normal part of a process. The data is probably confounded for a range of reasons, this is just one of them.

  4. #4 by Audrey Nay on May 6, 2010 - 7:02 pm

    I fear the fiasco is over yet!!
    NSW TF were meeting an hour ago….

  5. #5 by David Chapman on May 6, 2010 - 7:54 pm

    The NAPLAN issues and concerns are certainly shared over here in the private sector.

    I recently chaired a meeting of several local private k-12 schools. All but one (including my own school) were happy to report that we have chosen not to teach to the test, and have basically ignored it, other than spending about one period explaining the process to the students, and one other period showing some example formats. It was disappointing to hear that one school had in fact been drilling since the start of the year – but it was only one.

    The rest of us are getting on with our teaching.

  6. #6 by kmcg2375 on May 6, 2010 - 8:15 pm

    Thank you David, that is the loveliest news I have heard re NAPLAN in awhile.

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