In 2015 the National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is available for students in Years 3,5,7 and 9 in all government and non-government schools on the 12th, 13th and 14th May. This program, which has the support of all State and Territory Education Ministers, will assess the literacy and numeracy learning of students in all Australian schools.
The SEA (Steiner Education Australia) and its member schools have agreed that “in principle all Steiner schools are opposed to mandatory testing” because both the nature and the content of the test does not fit in with the Steiner educational approach and philosophy. Our approach to testing is through observation and research, oral presentations, comprehension and debate of material drawn out of Main Lessons and Practice Lesson work and therefore relevant to the children’s learning experience.
Most of the children, especially at the class 3 level, are unfamiliar with the format of the tests and therefore may be at a disadvantage. The results are not an accurate reflection of the students’ abilities but rather how they perform in the standardized test.
Studies have shown that students in the lower grades at Waldorf schools, rate lower in literacy when compared to mainstream schools because of the delayed start to formal teaching of reading. This however changes when students reach the upper grades and students’ literacy skills usually surpass their mainstream counterparts. The NAPLAN results and My Schools website confirm these studies.
The government has respect for our educational approach. The government accepts that children from Steiner Schools might be withdrawn from taking these tests. We are required to register all students enrolled whether they are sitting the test or are going to be exempt, withdrawn or absent. Access to special provisions and exemption from the tests must be discussed with the class teacher/and/or the Educational Manager, and a parent or carer consent form must be signed.
Parents have the right to withdraw their child from the tests. If you wish to withdraw your child from the tests you must sign a parent or carer consent form.
As Chrysalis Steiner School receives funding from the government we are obliged to provide the test. If your child sits part of or all of the tests, a report giving results will be sent to you in Term 3 by NAPLAN.
Background information (student name, gender, date of birth, language background and Aboriginality, etc) is collected as part of this national assessment program. This information is treated confidentially and held securely to ensure that every student’s right to privacy is maintained.
The tests will be conducted across Australia on the same days for all students according to the following timetable:
Tuesday 12th May – Language convention test (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) and a separate Writing test.
Wednesday 13th May – Reading test
Thursday 14th May – Numeracy test (Number, Algebra, function and pattern; Chance and data; Measurement and space)
For the Numeracy tests students do not require any measuring tools such as rulers or protractors. In Year 7 there will be two Numeracy tests; one where a calculator is allowed and one where calculators are not used. For the calculator test the student should use the calculator that they currently use at school.
Additional information for parents about the National Assessment Program can be found on this website: http://www.naplan.edu.au/parents/parents.html
Please contact me if you have any questions and would like further information about your child’s participation in the National Assessment Program.
Kelley McGlashan. Educational Manager, Chrysalis Steiner School.