28 February 2018
Member for Ballina
Greens Education spokesperson
I welcome the NSW government backing down from its plan to prevent students who didn't reach minimum standards in NAPLAN Year 9 results from getting their HSC.
I spoke at a protest against this policy in Sydney last year and it is good to see results from the campaign that teachers, parents and unions launched last year against this move.
NAPLAN testing in NSW schools is supposed to be diagnostic and assist teachers and students to improve – hence the policy of assessment for learning.
Telling a student they can't get their HSC if they don't reach Band 8 in NAPLAN tests for reading, writing and numeracy instills fear and is punitive which is inappropriate for an educational environment.
Making a student feel like a failure is never going to convince them to keep coming to school or to try harder.
The NSW government is still insisting that students meet minimum standards but this can be done through online tests which can be taken in Year 10, 11 or 12.
While this approach is less punitive it is not encouraging students to learn to their full potential and it is forcing teachers to teach only what will be covered by testing.
It is putting pressure on less able students who need more support to help them reach their full potential.
I am calling on the NSW government to also announce more funding and more teacher support to help those students who need to re-sit tests.