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Gazette Article

Louise Green: NAPLAN 'just a snapshot'



Artarmon Public School (APS) has once again achieved excellent results in the annual national assessment program - literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. Students in years three and five sat the series of tests in May. The results were sent to parents and schools in September. Information gathered in the NAPLAN tests informs the federal government’s controversial My School website. The website enables comparison of academic performance between schools in the geographic area and across Australia.

Top schools can be identified and ranked. Despite APS falling firmly in the top percentile of schools, Principal Louise Green cautions against using the NAPLAN results as a definition of a school’s success. “It’s just a snapshot. It’s one test, on one day in the year. It’s really a very minor part of what we do in school,” she told the Gazette.

For parents, the NAPLAN results clearly showed how their children were performing academically for their grade within the school and nationally. Many parents equate high academic achievement with life achievement. However, with more than 30 years’ experience as a teacher, Louise believes the keys to successful learning do not include reams of homework or constant pressure to achieve.

“There are things that make a definite impact on children’s learning. One of them is getting plenty of rest, getting a good sleep and having good routines at home,” she said. “The second one is good health and the thing that contributes to good health is good nutrition, exercise and having a broad sense of life and it’s values – not learning all the time, 24 hours a day.

“The third thing I think makes a dramatic impact to students learning is the relationship with their parents and the value that their parents place on learning.”

APS has a highly involved parent and citizens committee that works closely with the school executive. Recently, a sub-committee has been reviewing the school’s homework policy. Education department guidelines regarding homework are flexible enough to allow teacher and school discretion in setting the homework agenda.

A survey was sent to all parents and the results showed a broad range of expectations – from no homework to several hours per night. That was no surprise to Louise who remains convinced the answer to the homework conundrum is simple and effective.

“For me the very best thing you can do at home is read with your child, talk with your child about what happened that day and encourage them to write it down. I think that is better homework than anything else that they can do,” she said.

Rather than focusing on a school’s academic achievements as a measure of accomplishment, Louise believes the definition of a successful school is one that equips students for the future.

“We are educating adults at the end of it and we hope to give them a balanced lifestyle approach as they go into adulthood. It’s about what you do as a whole human being that makes a difference,” she said.

by Jane Rowley

Courtesy of Gazette November 2012
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APS arts concert
APS inaugural celebration of arts concert ... NAPLAN is not everything.
Photo: APS

 
 


 

 

 

 
   
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