FROM THE PRINCIPAL
NAPLAN, Pirates and Reading
Next week students from Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will, along with students from all schools in Australia, sit the annual NAPLAN tests here at CCAS. Over the years these tests have created much debate, and tended to polarise opinion on both the appropriateness and benefit of such tests. It is important to note that NAPLAN tests are benchmarking tests, useful to provide both individual feedback on progression against national benchmarks, as well as providing broader indicative trends both at a school level, across states and at a national level. These broader trends provide us with insights into the effectiveness of programs and teaching across Literacy and Numeracy to inform ongoing improvement.
I am supportive of NAPLAN testing and see their benefits, although I am not always comfortable with how this data is used as a comparison tool. I would encourage you as parents to encourage your children to strive to do their best in these tests, and to take them seriously. Their best efforts give us the best insights into both their individual progress over time, and the progress of their class cohort and effectiveness of our teaching program. However, I would also want these tests to be kept in perspective. These results do not define an individual – they are just a point in time indicator – so let’s not heap too much pressure on our students to perform. The tests designed for mainstream students, and we respect the rights that parents of children with learning difficulties have to determine whether they participate in these tests. At CCAS we do not invest a significant amount of time teaching to these tests, as some schools have fallen into the trap of doing, to artificially inflate school results. We do take some time each year to familiarise students with the tests, so that they know what to expect (which has been taking place this week), but beyond this we are more interested in getting on with the job of delivering our regular program, and allowing NAPLAN to run it’s course, providing us with an authentic snapshot of our students' progress.
Students will sit the tests across three days next week from Tuesday to Thursday. For students in Year 9, these tests will provide them with their first opportunity to attain the minimum Literacy and Numeracy standards recently introduced to qualify for the HSC from 2020 onwards. Again, this should not be seen as an additional pressure point, but rather an opportunity for some of the above average students to complete this requirement. Students will be provided with multiple opportunities through the next three years of their schooling to attain this proficiency.
Finally, I want to thank all our primary parents for their support and engagement this week at our Book Fair. The students have enjoyed the activities, especially on Tuesday when they came dressed along with the teachers in their pirate outfits, and the importance of reading has been enhanced. A special thank you to our library staff and parent helpers for all their work to make this week a success. Enjoy the rest of this newsletter.