Students currently sitting the National Literacy and Numeracy test this year are being told not to take it too seriously, or “fall for the hype”, as the program is flawed.
The Principal of the Emmaus Christian School in Canberra, Paul Marshall, says the six-month waiting period for results mean the tests aren’t relevant or useful for teachers by the time they arrive.
Mr Marshall objects to the testing and has told parents they are welcome to withdraw their children from the testing.
”The decision to allow your child/ren to sit the NAPLAN tests rests with you,” he wrote on the school’s website.
The withdrawal rates are growing, from 0.5 per cent of year three math students jigging in 2008 to 1.9 per cent in 2012, for example. But public education group Save Our Schools said many parents don’t realize the tests are optional.
Despite Mr Marshall’s methods, only a handful of Emmaus students have withdrawn.
NAPLAN is now being show to cause stress, anxiety, vomiting and sleeplessness for students as young as seven are made to sit to tests up to twice a day over three days.
Mr Marshall says the importance placed on the program is causing unnecessary stress and asked on the site that parents “please don’t hype up the NAPLAN test for your child”.
The NAPLAN has received criticism for only being able to test how good people are at doing NAPLAN tests, in the same way that IQ tests are only useful for determining someone’s ability to do an IQ test.
The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy is designed to identify whether students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 have the skills for their stages.
A spokeswoman for Education Minister Peter Garrett says the tests will move online in 2016, which will allow for faster turn-around time for results.
Words: JACOB EVANS