Information that NAPLAN faces the axe in an educational testing overhaul (Weekend Australian 29,30 August) was very good news. Replacing NAPLAN with a less subjective, more appropriate and relevant approach to measuring student progress will gladden the hearts of educators, students and their parents alike.
While many educational challenges have been foisted on students and teachers by the impact of COVID-19, postponing NAPLAN this year was the one bright spot in a year of difficulties. This irrelevant and in reality, purposeless testing program should never be resumed.
Introduced in 2008, the same year that the Melbourne Declaration proposed a holistic approach to education, NAPLAN immediately challenged the intention of that declaration’s authenticity. The social, emotional and moral/spiritual aspect of the Melbourne decision were set at naught, by a test focussed on a narrow academic band at specific year levels.
NAPLAN was supposed to be a comparative measure of student accomplishment at a particular point in time each year. Instead, it became the ‘be’all and ‘end’ all of education everywhere around Australia. Months were devoted to readying students for the test and countless weeks spent afterward in anticipating then dissecting results. Rather than facilitating education, NAPLAN became its most major distractor.
May this debilitating testing regime never again see the light of day.