Testing pupils’ abilities: Kerry Fearby and son Brayden, who will be undertaking the NAPLAN test this morning.
Testing pupils’ abilities: Kerry Fearby and son Brayden, who will be undertaking the NAPLAN test this morning.

National test not fair indication

A WARWICK mum has urged parents to look beyond the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test results when assessing their child’s classroom performance and their school’s national ranking.

Kerry Fearby’s son Brayden, 12, is among more than 2000 Southern Downs students starting NAPLAN tests this morning.

The annual testing, which is synchronised nationally, involves students from years 3, 5, 7 and 9 completing reading, writing, language conventions and numeracy exams.

For parents like Mrs Fearby it is a stressful time as they support students through three days of assessment.

“Some kids get more worked up than others about the tests, which has a bearing on their results,” Mrs Fearby said.

“But I think parents need to look at their child’s performance in NAPLAN in context with their other results.

“Some kids excel at assignments or work really hard in class, yet these performances aren’t reflected in NAPLAN results.”

Related: Controversial school tests begin

Likewise she said the controversial ranking of schools on the MySchool’s website was based on NAPLAN performance and gave parents a skewed view of educational offerings.

“There is more to choosing a school than academic performance,” Mrs Fearby said.

“You want it to be a place which nurtures and encourages all aspects of a child’s development.”

The use of NAPLAN to rank schools has caused considerable consternation amongst teachers with many threatening to boycott supervising the test if the Federal Government continued to use results to rank schools.

Education Queensland and local Catholic schools have confirmed teachers will be supervising testing, although many continue to have professional reservations about the way NAPLAN results are used.

St Patrick’s’ Allora principal Margaret Grew said small schools had the potential to be misrepresented in the test outcomes.

“In a small school, with a small class of students, you may have one child struggle with the test, which will bring you school’s overall results down significantly,” Mrs Grew said.

“For example we have seven year seven students here, if one child fails a section of the NAPLAN test then 14 percent of our class is below the national average.

“It’s easy for a school’s overall achievements to be misrepresented when they are simplified like that.”

However she said the benefits of national assessment could be applauded if it translated to extra funding for needy students.



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