Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What Do We Win? | Connected Principals

What Do We Win? | Connected Principals:

What Do We Win?

November 20, 2013

The global race to be one of the top five Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) countries is a debate all around the world at the moment. Countries are endeavouring to find that pedagogical panacea and structural reform that will give them an edge over Finland and many of the Asian countries. During the current race, I have often wondered whether anyone has stopped and asked, “What do we win?” Is there a massive global sheep station on offer or a world cup in education?
The Australian National Assessment Programme for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is our local standardised  tests. Merrylands East Public School (Sydney) treats the tests like another school activity due to the Federal Government’s compliance requirements. However, I will create some heresy amongst some education purists by saying that our school does not teach to the test, or focus on it during teachers’ programming, and when the results arrive, they are simply disseminated to our parents without any valued judgements. Our school results over the years can range from the global financial crisis to the Australian mining boom but we don’t measure our school on them. This is not to say that schools don’t need to improve in Literacy and Numeracy – all schools do! It’s the benchmark that we set ourselves that really matters and that will be different for each school.
International and national standardised testing do not reflect the complexity of achievements in a