Breaking news: kids don’t love sitting exams
It’s shocking. Children are supposed to be lovingly guided through their education with kid gloves, never facing the prospect of getting anything less than a B+ and a gold star, thereby preparing them for a life of constant angst and confusion upon their entry to “the real world”.
Instead, we’re told, some of them are reporting symptoms of stress and anxiety before sitting their NAPLAN tests. To stave off this epidemic of totally normal behaviour, teachers are reportedly “teaching to the test”, spending extra time teaching what will be tested in the exam, and even making them sit dummy runs in the lead-up.
This means children are being made to learn things such as maths and reading and writing. Won’t someone think of the children!
There’s a fascinating chapter in a new report from the University of Western Sydney’s Whitlam Institute, into NAPLAN testing.
NAPLAN was introduced by the Gillard Government as a way to standardise the measurement for the educational progress of Australian children.
Opponents of the testing regime decry school “league tables” and now decry the stress the testing is placing on students.
The Whitlam Institute surveyed teachers on what negative effects children and their parents (relating to the effect on children) reported to them in relation to NAPLAN.
“The evidence from the data suggests that a large proportion of educators are now reporting that at least some students are suffering health and well-being issues as a result of the NAPLAN. Difficulties include physical responses such as crying, sleeplessness, and feeling sick, as well as psychological responses such as an inability to cope emotionally, feelings of inadequacy, and concerns about the ways in which others might view them.”
But most disconcerting was surely this observation:
“There were some participants who viewed testing as simply a part of normal life.”
One such respondent teacher said:
“While test anxiety is of concern, NAPLAN testing has in no way created hysteria beyond what would be expected of any test situation. Being anxious about a test is quite normal and probably a useful emotion that all humans experience as part of life’s great tapestry. To mount a case that somehow NAPLAN is damaging a generation of children says more about parenting than it does about the test itself.”
That teacher must be found.
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