NAPLAN Does NOT Equal Learning.
News headline this week:
“NAPLAN results: Annual numeracy and literacy report shows ‘limited’ significant improvement in students’ skills” (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-05/naplan-results-show-limited-improvement-in-students-skills/6673118)
This is not surprising to many of us involved in Education. Testing (such as NAPLAN) provides data enabling us to inform change in practice that should lead to improving learning opportunities, if we use it properly. Improvement in student learning happens when we use that data to identify and address underlying issues and difficulties.
Learning is not just a thinking task, it is also a physiological and neurological activity. This means we need to consider learning from a physiological and neurological developmental perspective and ask “Is the student’s body supporting their learning, or could it be making it more challenging?” Providing teachers with the skills to identify and work with these attributes of the learning process is an element of education that needs to be examined and supported in our schools.
Developmental programs that address physiological and neurological readiness for learning can help students access the curriculum. Parents and teachers working together on these issues can contribute to improved student outcomes in accessing the curriculum and enhancing learning potential. The obvious place to address these fundamental learning platforms is in the early years of school. But, if the body seems to be “getting in the way” of the learning at any year level, there is opportunity to address those difficulties. The INPP program is one program that can help address fundamental and foundational elements in student’s readiness for learning.
INPP practitioners working in conjunction with educators can provide simple, non-invasive, developmentally focussed programs that support learning. It takes time, however, and requires a commitment to longer term solutions, not quick fixes. The focus needs to be on the growing and developing child with their continued learning process throughout childhood and adolescence, not just the testing and reporting of their skills at key points in time.
Yes, Mr Pyne, it is “about the basics of school education – curriculum, teacher quality, parental engagement and school autonomy,” but there’s a clause missing. We need to add: ‘with the focus on children and their learning.’ Perhaps it’s implicit and goes without saying. Let’s make it explicit not only in our speech, but in our actions! Use the NAPLAN data effectively to create change and form appropriate learning environments that support the whole learner. Testing doesn’t improve learning. Learning improves learning.
Video: Peter Goss (the Grattan Institute) on the ABC on Wednesday 5th August discussing the NAPLAN results. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-05/naplan-results-fail-to-show-any-real-overall-improvement/6673632