SMH Opinion: NAPLAN changes the way we raise our children, and not for the better

Wednesday 28 Aug 2019

The following excerpt is from an opinion piece by Jane Mueller, published by the Sydney Morning Herald on 28 August, 2019:

Rigorous debate has long surrounded the impact NAPLAN has on Australia’s education system, our schools and, ultimately, our children. But what consideration has been given to the impact of NAPLAN on parenting? How does NAPLAN influence the way we raise our children and tomorrow’s leaders?

The reality is that NAPLAN serves as a benchmark for parental priorities. And not in a helpful way. The Education Council of the Council of Australian Governments this year commissioned a review of NAPLAN. The resulting NAPLAN Reporting Review recognised that "Australian governments and school systems rely on NAPLAN to make judgments about school and school system performance…"

Parents must not be excluded from this statement; they rely on NAPLAN too.

NAPLAN implies that literacy and numeracy should be valued over all other skills that blossom in a child’s formative years. Parents seeking to give their children the best start to life can buy into this belief. The consequence? In some family homes parents insist their children spend copious hours engaged in academic activity, to the detriment of the social and problem-solving skills that are fostered through unstructured play.

But stop and think: do you know of anyone who has been asked to submit their NAPLAN results when applying for a job? In reality, today’s employers are crying out for qualities of a different kind.

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