What Naplan won’t tell you…

A brief letter to young parents about choosing a school…

Dear Mums and Dads,

I’ve heard from a few of you lately about the schools you have chosen for your children. I was a little taken aback to hear that you did this by checking online for the schools’ Naplan scores.

What matters to you?

An environment where…

  • your child’s curiosity is nurtured and inquiry is encouraged?
  • her unique abilities and preferences are taken into account?
  • social and emotional needs are addressed as much as intellectual and physical?
  • your child feels secure and valued, able to take risks and build resilience?
  • learning is engaging and purposeful, relevant to the future in which she will live?
  • creativity and initiative are valued over mere compliance?
  • understanding, empathy and compassion are fostered?
  • your child learns to be reflective and understand herself as a learner?
  • education looks different than it did when you went to school…?

Naplan scores won’t reveal any of these.


PS. Try visiting the school, talking to students, teachers and parents and asking questions about the things you really care about…

11 thoughts on “What Naplan won’t tell you…

  1. This is a timely post. I couldn’t agree more. In some schools, the environment you refer to has difficulty surviving.I also worry that young teachers are learning to “teach to the test” because of the pressures they are feeling to improve Naplan results, no matter how good the results are.I hope many parents take note of your sage advice.


  2. I can only add my voice to the chorus of all of my colleagues who know that we are doing our children and our wonderful teachers such a disservice by judgment by Naplan.
    We twist ourselves in knots trying to find a way NOT to teach to the test. And then the newspaper publishes the “like” schools comparison and ……….


  3. Thank you! I am a college student and I am glad to read your post because they are very helpful. They also teach me plenty of things I will need to know to become a teacher and a successful one at that! I really enjoy reading your post!


  4. A lot of schools are so focused on assessments, grades and scores that they forget that there are other important things to cultivate in their students. They want to try to force them into a mold when they are all unique individuals with unique and individual abilities and talents. why not allow them to express them and let them grow in their abilities? I really appreciate this post as a future teacher and (in the far future) parent. Thank you for posting!


  5. I wish there were a ratings system for the environment you described. Ultimately, a child’s success in life does not correlate to how well s/he scored on a standardized exam. For too many years, I have felt the pressure to “teach to the test”. This ideology sucks all the joy out of teaching — and learning, too. Until parents feel empowered to ask the important questions you’ve outlined, the system won’t change.

    Parents should also know that more often than not, an A rated/graded school is NOT what one might imagine it to be. The data and numbers and standards are routinely manipulated to achieve an illusion of greatness.

    So, yes, talk to teachers and other students and parents and try to visit classrooms midyear when student work is displayed. Get multiple opinions. Most importantly, nurture your child’s curiosity and personal passions outside the classroom.


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