The problem with NAPLAN, as I have regularly said, is not the test per say, but how the data is used. When it is used by the media and politicians to rank schools and name and shame out of a desire to lift standards, you create a culture of fear. The test has become a high-stakes event with the community thinking that the outcomes are the measure of how good their school is. Schools and teachers respond in fear and focus all their efforts on test preparation to the detriment of other vital curriculum.
Fortunately, many in the wider community have started to realise the detrimental side of NAPLAN and have begun to place it in proper context.
These things being said, we did receive the School’s NAPLAN results last week. Individual results give you as a parent a reasonable indication of how your son or daughter is performing against benchmarks (if they are good at sitting a test/exam, which my daughter wasn’t). The School results give us a good indication of how our teaching practice is going and what adjustments we need to make for particular cohorts.
I am really pleased to say that all grade levels, Years 3, 5, 7 and 9, performed higher to significantly higher than the State and National average. But then you would hope that was the case. St Paul’s School’s results over the years have been consistently higher than the benchmarks.
The Year 3 cohort performed significantly higher than the State and National average this year, up to 16% higher.
Last week, there was quite a bit of media commentary around the results for Year 9 boys. On the National level, the Year 9 boys performed a year behind the girls. I was invited to make some comments on this matter on ABC Radio. I am pleased to confirm that we are not seeing that same trend at St Paul’s School. The boys are on a par with the girls, performing above to well above the State and National average (3 to 7% above).
The Year 9 boys’ weakest area was writing, particularly spelling, grammar and punctuation. This might come as no surprise to you as a parent. The advent of social media and technology has brought with it a whole new language and conventions. Year 9 boys are particularly engrossed in this form of communication, BTW.
What can you do as parents to partner with us in the education of your child/ren?
I strongly encourage you to model to your son and daughter the behaviours and traits you would like to see. Be the very best version of yourself. Read yourself. Read to your children. Eat together and converse.
We will continue to work hard and improve what we do so your children can achieve great things.