"A GROUP of education consultants is urging Australian parents to withdraw their children from next month’s annual NAPLAN (National Assessment Program, Literacy and Numeracy) tests, saying they are damaging children’s creativity.
The group, made up of teachers, consultants and academics, says the testing – now in its fifth year – is providing poor-quality information about students’ abilities in the classroom, and is compromising students’ attitudes to learning.
Campaigning under the banner, ”Say No to NAPLAN”, the group will launch its broadside against the government’s standardized tests at the Australian Education Union’s Melbourne offices on Monday.
The union is not associated with the campaign, though it has provided the group with a rent-free venue for the meeting.
Group member Lorraine Wilson, who began her teaching career in 1959, said standardized testing was producing a generation of ”automaton” children, and devalued teachers.
”All control of education has been taken out of educators’ hands. These decisions have been made by politicians, not by teachers,” Ms Wilson said. ”It’s standardizing the children and expecting them to be the same.”
The group will call on parents to boycott the tests, and says most parents are not aware the tests are not compulsory.
To support the campaign, the group on Monday will release 10 papers written by academics and consultants that raise several concerns about the tests, including their approach to spelling and supposed misuse of statistics.
In one strongly worded paper, former Primary Education Queensland director Phil Cullen described the tests as showing ”contempt” for children.
”Over the past few years, schooling in the US, Britain, Australia and New Zealand has become a test-driven, fear-based operation. Effective teaching-learning strategies are being contemptuously ignored. Preparing for the tests dominates school time and pushes creative aspects of the school curriculum out of the way.”