NAPLAN testing a useful tool, says Catholic educator

Hills pupils were among more than a million Australia students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 to begin NAPLAN tests yesterday.

Executive director of schools in the catholic diocese of Parramatta, Greg Whitby, said the literacy and numeracy tests had polarised debate among educators, commentators and parents over the past six years.

‘These tests ... are designed to test basic skills,’’ he said.

‘There is a growing misconception that NAPLAN is an indicator of school or teacher performance and is being increasingly used as a way to select students or attract enrolments. ‘‘This has resulted in a skewing of NAPLAN results with some teachers teaching to test and students feeling pressure to perform or parents asked to withdraw students because they won’t perform well.’’

Mr Whitby said it was important the data be used for improvement.

‘‘Data in and of itself, like technology or any other tool in the classroom, won’t make the difference,’’ he said.

‘‘We have to ensure that we put NAPLAN in its rightful place and use the data to inform learning and teaching.’’

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