Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Bottom of the class again?

It seems this state is bottom of the class in NAPLAN testing again. For Upoverites the NAPLAN tests are national tests in things like spelling and mathematics taken at the end of years 3, 5, 7 and 9. They are supposed to tell teachers and parents how the child is performing.
I say "supposed" because of course any examination is only a snap shot of how you performed on a particular day. Overall it may also give you an idea of how the group is performing. The discussion around the value of NAPLAN can go on without me.
Ms W has done the NAPLAN tests for 3, 5 and 7. Her verdict at the end of the year 7 tests? "I suppose we had to do them." She was not enthused. 
It isn't that she minds tests or exams. She works hard in school. She does well. It is expected that she will do well - and yes, she did well in the NAPLAN tests. Her school did well in the NAPLAN tests. It was expected they would do well. It is one of the things that parents are paying fees in the expectation of seeing.
"Oh, the girls there must be much brighter than the average," I was told by someone else who is opposed to any form of fee paying even for books and materials in state schools.
No. The ability range is almost identical to that of a state school. There are even perhaps more students with special needs. The school is "accessible" in more ways than one. 
Classes are, on average, only two to three smaller than the neighbouring state school but they have access to additional help if they need it.The school has excellent facilities - and the "resource centre/library" is a purpose built building filled with materials. 
However those things don't mean that you will come top of the class. I know other schools with far less  that also come top of the class. Pana Mtoto Mlangoni, the refugee centre once run by my late friend in Africa, had almost no resources. The children there were doing well too, better than many of the local students who had families. Ms W's school has supported them in obtaining more resources.
In both cases though there is an expectation of the students from the start. That expectation is "You are here to work and to learn and that is what you will do and you will do it to the best of your ability. Nobody else is going to do your work for you."
Perhaps it is what all schools say but is it really what all schools expect?

No comments: