I’m not going to lie, this article made me cry.
Emotionally, the idea of putting these wee little kids into situations like that is abominable. Shameful.
Intellectually, I find it unethical and abhorrent. There is no actual research evidence to back this style of testing or education up. It’s another aspect of ‘trickle down theory’ where what is okay, or workable, for one aspect of education* is then moved and shifted and co-opted and applied with no real understanding of the praxis or the rationale and is enforced for no real reason other than the ease of numbers as a method of judgement by disembodied and disconnected authorities.
So we need accountability in teaching? Yeah. I’d like to see some of the teachers at my daughter’s school held accountable for their actions, good and bad. Tests do not accomplish that, not in the slightest. They disrupt and delay educational outcomes by placing more importance on the test itself than learning.
I don’t homeschool, but I support it, and this is one of the reasons. So far I have been lucky – Petit Lapin has had a good introduction to schooling via two teachers who understand that at 3/4/5 a child needs social support, needs comfort, needs kindness more than anything else. I worry though, because her school has mealy mouthed, approval seeking, weasel wording, desires to conform to testing without ever actually coming out and saying that. To quote the principal ‘We don’t believe in teaching to the test, and the NAPLAN test days are just like any other, and we have good scores because we teach well. Also, by the way, in the year prior to NAPLAN they do a pre-NAPLAN trial test.’ – underhanded bullshit, in essence. We don’t teach to the test, look at our great scores, oh btw we totally make the kids do tests to prep them for the tests but we don’t teach to the tests.
But the way it starts, the way the homework begins, is cute things like ‘bring a photo of your family to school’ and ‘do a family tree’ and ‘take something in to show everyone’ – except that each of these activities is accompanied by a helpful sheet explaining that they have to do this, and by this date, and we need to quiz them on these aspects and prompt them for public speaking and also there’s these sight words they should practice and suddenly other parents are quizzing us on ‘how much practice do you do at home’.
*Not just education, it happens with a lot of other areas as well.