The Courier-Mail

Parents say nah to NAPLAN

Kids forced to stay home on school testing days

- LAUREN WILSON

ALMOST 25,000 Australian school kids are being deliberate­ly prevented from sitting national literacy and numeracy tests because of the objections or reservatio­ns of their parents.

New figures provided to the Senate reveal that the numbers of children being formally withdrawn from NAPLAN tests – because their parents morally object to the assessment­s, or fear the tests trigger

too much stress – soared by 4780 between 2013 and 2014.

Parents in Queensland are most inclined to keep their children home on testing days, with about 4.4 per cent of kids in the state boycotting the tests because of parental objections, significan­tly higher than anywhere else in the country.

The increase in the number of parental objections is a worrying trend for the Austra- lian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

ACARA chief executive Robert Randall said the NAPLAN tests provided valuable informatio­n for parents and teachers on the progress of their children’s literacy and numeracy skills.

“Parents who withdraw their children from NAPLAN tests are choosing to not benefit from a second set of eyes on how well their children are doing, relative to other students of their age across the country,” Mr Randall said.

“Every student should know how well he or she is doing – against national standards and in comparison with his or her peers.”

Education Minister Christophe­r Pyne said NAPLAN was an important diagnostic tool and all students should be participat­ing in the standardis­ed tests.

“I would urge schools and state and territory government­s to ensure all students sit NAPLAN tests. If a child misses out, they also miss out on the chance to improve”.

“The results vitally help teachers and schools to identify which students require additional help and provides educators with the diagnostic tool to improve student outcomes,” he said.

But Greens spokeswoma­n for education Penny Wright said that the high numbers of kids being withdrawn from the tests showed many parents were not convinced the pressure and stress involved with NAPLAN testing was worth it. “These figures show that parents are voting with their feet, because they just do not believe that NAPLAN tests are necessaril­y good for their kids of their learning,” she said.

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