THE EDUCATOR: THE FUNDAMENTAL FLAWS OF STANDARDISED TESTING

Friday 16 Oct 2020

Standardised testing is not new. Its well-intentioned beginnings in the Australian context date back to the late 1800’s, when it was used to stimulate the professional growth of teachers and schools, leading to the adjustment of teaching strategies to improve student learning. In plain terms, standardised testing was designed to develop teacher capacity.

This century, more than 200 years on, standardised testing data has progressively crept into the public domain. Not only has the data become public, but individual – as opposed to collective – student achievement is available. The consequence? Much of the pressure to perform has been transferred to students. There has been a shift from the formative professional growth of teachers aimed at generating improved student learning, to high-stakes judgement and comparison. Children have become victims in this evolution and we – the adults responsible for the wellbeing of children – have become conditioned to believe this is ‘normal’.

Studies that have taken place since the inception of standardised testing give rise to four fundamental flaws of NAPLAN.

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