The NAPLAN national school testing system is often under fire with reports from stressed-out teachers who feel their students are under too much pressure to achieve good results.
Over 8,000 teachers were recently surveyed about their concerns about the “unintended side effects” of NAPLAN.
About 90% surveyed said that some students felt so stressed before the tests they were crying, some vomiting and many suffering with insomnia, all leading to absenteeism.
All children are tested on reading, writing, grammar and maths in grades three, five, seven and nine.
A representative from the Education Ministry office stated that “NAPLAN was really important for us to understand how kids are travelling in the basics of literacy and numeracy.”
“We need that understanding to help us progress in education reform and improving schools across the country.”
A teacher from Western Sydney sated that he had concerns because he found he was spending more time teaching specifically to the test and less time on face-to-face teaching. The surveyed found that indeed 39% of teachers said they taught by rote and staged weekly tests aiming to boost NAPLAN results all at the expense of subjects like art, music and language.
The surveyed also indicated that 72% of teachers believed the purpose of NAPLAN was to rank schools, while 70% thought it was also a policing tool.
Confusion about the intent of NAPLAN aside, one thing is guaranteed: we will all experience stress and challenges at different times in our lives.
Stacey Ellerson, who teaches grade 9 believes that “NAPLAN, or any other exam, test, assignment or project is a way to present a challenge to a student and motivate them to find the skills and aptitude within them to seek out ways of solving the problem or issue.”
“I know that kids are very good at picking up fear and stress in adults, whether it be their teacher or their parent. Testing is a part of life these days; whether it is a written test, or just one of life’s daily challenges. Coping mechanisms and skills to develop self confidence are important for kids in any situation,” she believes.
Redtick Education agrees with Stacey’s view. “We all have different ways of coping with challenges. Learning to manage our time and developing good habits early on is key to students overcoming hurdles and achieving success.”
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