Teachers plan to boycott tests

AS media outlets across Australia ran the NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) results of schools in their respective areas yesterday, teachers vowed to boycott this year’s tests planned for May.

As predicted by teacher unions, some newspapers, including the Sydney Morning Herald, used the figures on the My School website to rate the schools in their readerships in so-called league tables.

North Coast organiser for the NSW Teachers’ Federation, Wayne Webber, hit out at the Julia Gillard-driven website, saying it was confusing for parents and virtually meaningless.

“It’s not clear as to what a lot of the data means, what does the percentage of indigenous students really mean?” Mr Webber said.

He said the 20 ‘statistically similar’ schools to his son’s public Mid North Coast high school included private Islamic schools, Christian schools and even a high school.

He said the UK and USA experience where numeracy and literacy figures had been available for two decades had been a narrowing of curricula to the detriment of fully-rounded education.

“In the UK, employers are now complaining that students are just not employable because they don’t have the broad liberal education our students have at the moment,” Mr Webber said. Important learning areas, such as problem solving, teamwork, art and music, were not tested under NAPLAN.



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