NAPLAN tests begin
MORE than 350,000 Australian students between the ages of 7 to 15 will begin the annual NAPLAN tests today with Northern Rivers school principals claiming there was now broad support for the exam despite the controversy that surrounded its introduction.
The years 3, 5, 7 and 9 tests, now in their fifth year, measure school performance in reading, writing and numeracy with the results published on the My School website.
Some education academics, lobby groups and teachers continued to oppose NAPLAN, claiming the pressure for schools to succeed meant the test had hijacked the curriculum at the expense of a broader education.
Alstonville High School principal David Silcock admitted it was a "difficult balance".
While the school had "sharpened its focus" on specific areas covered by NAPLAN, they had made sure this was integrated into their wider curriculum, he said.
"I think it's definitely something you have to be cautious of.
"If you teach to the test in a bad fashion that doesn't engage them (students) in learning."
He said it was important to keep the NAPLAN results in perspective and understand that it was merely a snapshot of where students were at on a given day.
Dr Paul Thornton, assistant director for education services at the Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools Office, said NAPLAN was a very important diagnostic tool.
The exams will be staged over three days with the preliminary results due in September.
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