This week our girls in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 have undertaken the National Assessment Program testing in Literacy And Numeracy (NAPLAN). At this time of year there is often media coverage of debate about the value of such tests and whether they are counterproductive for students, causing unnecessary stress for insufficient gain. It is certainly important that we do not see NAPLAN tests as the “be all and end all” in terms of student academic performance. As educators we understand that to get a true picture of a student’s understanding, knowledge and skill one should use multiple modes of assessment, preferably across time. Discussions, oral presentations, quizzes, assignments, drawings and self-reflections can all be valuable tools for gaining insight into the capabilities of our girls. Alongside all of this, however, a nationally benchmarked test, undertaken in carefully monitored conditions can provide another measure to add to our mix of internal data in order to help us keep track of how students are growing in their capacity, and to better understand areas where we may need to direct our teaching for a particular cohort of students. Having spoken to many girls this week about their experience of the NAPLAN tests, I found that they had, as usual, taken them in their stride and in fact, in many cases, enjoyed the experience! As a school we continue to value the opportunity to provide girls with a range of experiences that will help them to feel challenged but also to be confident in their capacity to meet those challenges. I am confident that this week the NAPLAN tests provided just that.
Posted on by Elisabeth Rhodes