This week, all across Australia, students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 took part in the National Assessment Program NAPLAN.
In previous posts I have questioned the purpose of this type of assessment, the importance placed upon the results, and the undue stress caused to students, teachers and families. You can read some of my thoughts here, here and here for starters.
Of course I am not the only one questioning, and Australia is not the only country in which nation-wide testing is set, and questioned. The tests are no more popular in the US with many students opting out. Diane Ravitch does much to raise awareness of the issues on her blog. Concerns are also raised in the UK, and no doubt elsewhere.
However sometimes something good can arise where it is least expected. Out of the melee of the testing environment this week came a wonderful letter written to students by teachers who know that there is more to each one than the score on a test. A parent of one of the students posted the letter on Facebook and it went viral. The story was picked up by a variety of media outlets.
I congratulate the teachers for writing and distributing the letter. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Check it out on Facebook here, or read some of the media reports:
Daily Mail UK
A similar letter went viral in the UK last year, and according the ABC article, the letter was based on one written to students in the US a number of years ago. I don’t think the message can be repeated often enough.
Maybe it is one thing to tell the students, but how do we get the policy makers first to listen and then to act?
Perhaps they should have a listen to the discussion by Tim and Debbie, one of my favourite pieces from the 80’s.
Actually, in relation to the letter, I was looking for one of my favourite quotes by Tim but sadly couldn’t find it. He says, “My thoughts exactly. I would have said it if I’d thought of it!”
Thank you for reading.
I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.