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NAPLAN and the maintenance of mediocrity

By Phil Cullen - posted Tuesday, 11 December 2012

In their sequacious pursuit of fear-based kleinism and zombic functionalism, there is a quixotic determination amongst Australian politicians, measurers and testucators to establish and maintain a test-based school culture at any cost. It’s so true. These discrete, identifiable groups seem to believe that the more you test children and frighten them with the consequences of failure, the more that school children will want to learn .... better and harder.

These control freaks spend millions of dollars to make sure that the stakeholders in learning – teachers, pupils and parents in particular - will do as they are told. They take advantage of the present era of a fading democracy, of the support and controlled silence of the brotherhood of media interests and of the ease with which good people can be ‘milgramed’ to perform deeds that are quite contrary to their basic beliefs and ethics. At this point in time, these ‘buz baz’ showmen are confident that they have manufactured sufficient consent for their mission to succeed, so they are prepared to spend more enormous amounts of tax-payers’ dollars to stream-line the process on-line.

The ultimate mission is to make sure that measurers, on behalf of the test publishing industry, eventually flood schools with test-coping equipment, ipads and high-tech test-preparation programs as well as test-oriented curriculum programs. There is no sincere learning base to the mission. There is no compassion for the feelings of children nor any effort to encourage and extend the basic love of learning.


These Australian schadenfreudes gathered in early December, 2012 to ignore serious research, to flee from the advice from international authorities where achievement is enjoyed, celebrated and applauded, as they continue their cruel assault on the enjoyment of learning. They support the maintenance of mediocrity because they don’t know any better; and they prefer not to deal with issues of LEARNING. Measurement pundits’ backgrounds are so limited that they even advocate that fundamentals of literacy and numeracy have to be parroted and practised before any form of learnacy can be undertaken.

They know, all too well, that most school children suffer from some forms of High-stakes Naplan Testing Disorder [HSNTD]. Manifest in every home of a Year 3,5,7,9 pupil and in every school during the April-May period each year, the condition is widely known and is deliberately ignored by these test-freaks. They just don’t care. One has to wonder about them.

Let’s take a few examples of how public ignorance is maintained and how they control proffered cognitive, expert teacher advice in their pursuit of mediocrity's one-size-fits-all credo.....

1. The impact of NAPLAN on the well-being of students and their families was researched by the University of Melbourne and published by the Whitlam Institute at the University of Western Sydney in November, 2012.

8353 teacher stake-holders who operate at the sharp end of the testing program reveal that NAPLAN testing has resulted in [1] a narrowing of teaching strategies; [2] a narrowing of the curriculum; [3] damage to children’s health and well-being; [4] negative impact on staff morale and school reputations. In an open democracy, that’s sufficient evidence for a halt to be called. But...

On 30-11-12, a debate was conducted on Melbourne Radio about the limits of NAPLAN testing, during which the CEO of ACARA [Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority], expert measurer, Robert Randall was asked: “This study finds that children are sick, stressed and sleepless because of the tests. How concerned are you by that finding.”


Mr. Randall responded : “One answer I’m going to say, you know, we’re concerned about it. We welcome this report and others for us to have a look at, to get information so we take that information on in order to improve our program.

But equally we will challenge, if you like, the methodology and some of the information. [We know more than they do]’s some students and in some circumstances and we need to work those things through, but we need to be careful that this is not a claim about the whole populous, the participation.”

MoM:- The floggings will continue until teacher morale improves. We testucators don’t like the way that teachers volunteer their observations.

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About the Author

Phil Cullen is a teacher. His website is here: Primary Schooling.

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