NAPLAN is popping up much earlier this year after a national decision to shift the testing period earlier. It will also continue to be online, after last year’s successful digital launch of the online intuitive platform. Each year, as a school, it is important to be reminded of the strengths and potential that this National Assessment program can bring.
It can be used by teachers as a diagnostic tool to improve teaching in the classroom. It can also be used by parents and students to have more information detailing the student’s individual performance over time. There are many aspects to the program that can be misused or scrutinized by the media. I prefer to see it as just one tool that we can use, amongst our repertoire of assessment processes, to help develop our students into lifelong learners.
Our Head of English, Rachael Crawshaw has recently communicated with parents in the secondary school, reminding us that NAPLAN is a “point-in-time reference point”. This is exactly the spirit with which I would like our students to enter this assessment period. The results are not indicative of your overall capacity or potential as a learner. It does not determine your worth as a person or a student. It provides just one data point that contributes to informing and shaping the ways in which the teachers can support, guide and challenge our students.
As I have mentioned previously, the quantitative data provided by NAPLAN is helpful and can provide insights, but we seek to gather meaningful qualitative data too. We want to work towards your child feeling safe at school, confident to take risks with their learning and to be committed to striving for their best. We want to see your child intrigued by nature, to be prompted to create and to be inspired to seek answers. Just as NAPLAN can measure aspects of their literacy and numeracy ability, we also value the unmeasurable aspects of schooling, such as their social and emotional health, and feelings of belonging. These qualitative measures are what shape the character of our school community. By valuing the spiritual and relational development of our students, we ensure that external, standardised tests are kept in perspective. We do not see your child as an item of data to be plotted against national standards. We see them as children of God, created for His purpose and a valued part of God’s magnificent plan.
Mrs Natalie Bluhdorn
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