Well – for someone that really likes everyone to just get on – wading into the NAPLAN debate can be quite scary. Clearly, I don’t want any child to be anxious about sitting a test and I don’t want teachers to feel that they have to only teach grammar and sentence structure in English lessons so their students pass NAPLAN.
However, we do seem to have something of a national problem. Mastering writing continues to be a challenge around Australia. I looked at the statistics myself today on ACARA’s website and they made interesting (and depressing) reading.
The year nine results across the country reveal that more or less only 40% of students met the Band 8 standard or above for writing. In the Northern Territory – it was 20%. This year – young people around Australia had to write a persuasive text of around about 500 words on the topic ‘Don’t waste it!’ and the visual prompts included water, food and time.
Now of course, writing is a difficult to master. It will take some children far longer than others. Children with learning difficulties may find it too big a mountain to climb by year 9. And yes, some young people resist, fall asleep in the test, don’t try and so on – so the figures may not be accurate. I realise school is for learning and it is a journey. A long journey. A lifelong journey.
But. We’ve got to try haven’t we? We’ve got to aim high, haven’t we?
Only 40% of students managed to score over and above 32 marks out of a possible 48 marks writing about whether or not time is precious or food should not be wasted.
Isn’t this something we should be concerned about?